Ahh, Christmas. The time we get to gorge ourselves on absolutely anything we want because calories don’t count and we’re all wearing stretchy fluffy jumpers anyway. Turkey, brie, an entire Cadbury’s Advent calendar… who’s counting, eh?
This year I’m hosting Christmas lunch at my house and I’m so excited about it that I booked my Waitrose delivery slot back in October (9pm, 23rd December, BOOM). Since then I’ve been plotting and planning what I might cook on the big day, wanting to wow with three gorgeous courses of tummy-pleasing loveliness, and to make sure everything on the 25th will go to plan I did a dry run of our Christmas meal a couple of weeks ago: Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche Blinis to start followed by Slow-roast Beef Rib with Creamed Horseradish, Shallot Gravy and Maple Roasted Potatoes, ending with a yummy Apple Pie and Cheeseboard.
This recipe for 7 Hour Slow-Roast Beef Rib was top of our Christmas picks by far. It ticks all the boxes: flavoursome (incredibly flavoursome) without being dry (sideye turkey), festive and wintery and – most importantly – low-maintenance. It sits in the oven cooking for around 7 hours and then rests for an hour so there’s plenty of time for the day’s chef (that’s you) to potter around the kitchen pulling together side-dishes, kissing your children and enjoying a glass of Champagne. I’m always thinking of the important things this time of year…
You can find this recipe from me over on the Waitrose website, or scroll on down to find out more about why we’ve picked the Slow-Roast Beef Rib for Christmas.
We always kick-off our Christmas lunch with some smoked salmon and these bitesize Smoked Salmon Blinis are the easiest. Simply pick up a pack of blinis, smother them with a dollop each of Creme Fraiche and Smoked Salmon then scatter some black pepper and dill on top. Easy and yummy: job’s a good ‘un.
To accompany this meal I picked my favourite veggies, adding a little colour with purple carrots (roasted) and slow braised cabbage – a life changing recipe that can be found here. I also cooked up some peas and mange tout and mixed together to create something of a pea medley: top with butter and mint and you’ve got a lip-smacking kid-friendly vegetable dish right there.
The Maple Roasted Potatoes are new to our table this year and a copy of a dish I had at Waitrose’s recent Christmas party. They’re cooked as you usually would with your fat or oil of choice (mine is beef dripping but veg/sunflower oil could turn the recipe veggie/vegan) and the syrup is added and mixed in right before the potatoes go in the oven. It adds an extra layer of crunch and almost undetectable sweetness… SO GOOD.
It helps to use a beef thermometer when cooking this dish. I use one from Salter that connects to an app on my phone so I set an alarm for the temperature I need and leave it to do its thing. The resulting joint is divine: with a good-quality well-aged piece of meat (I ordered mine specifically from Waitrose) I promise you won’t taste any better. Try to leave it in the fridge uncovered a couple of days before cooking to dry out if you can.
I served this all up with a Romanian Pinot Noir – Philip Schofield once told me what a great wine this is (and he’s absolutely right!!) and we all happily tucked in. It was the pre-Christmas meal of dreams and we can’t wait to replicate it on the 25th!
For leftovers you’ll want to get in some crusty white bread and build big sandwiches with the beef, horseradish and a bit of rocket. Or try an open sandwich with caramelised onions, a bit of mustard and cheese melted on top. You’ll never crave a turkey sandwich again…
7 Hour Slow-Roast Beef Rib with Creamed Horseradish, Shallot Gravy and Maple Potatoes
This recipe requires a little bit of planning to get the timings right – the meat takes between 5-8 hours to cook and needs an hour to rest - but it’s otherwise incredibly simple and straightforward. The gravy can even be prepped ahead and re-heated when needed.
- 1 Aged three bone rib of beef around 3kg
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 l beef stock
- 100 g butter
- 5 shallots
- 150 ml white wine
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp Bisto as required
Maple Roast Potatoes
- 1.5 kg maris piper potatoes
- 1 tbsp beef dripping
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
Horseradish Crème Fraiche
- 2 dessert spoons horseradish sauce
- 150 ml Crème fraiche
Start by drying out the beef. 48 hours before you plan to cook it unwrap it and replace in the fridge. The night before you plan on eating, remove the joint from the fridge and leave out to come to room temperature.
Make sure you plan your timings in advance: to eat a medium-rare joint at 3pm you’ll need to get the meat in the oven between 7-8am. Start by coating the beef in a light layer of olive oil and salt and pepper, and fry off on a high heat until browned all over.
Put the meat in a large baking tray and place in the oven at 60 degrees centigrade. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature: for a medium-rare joint you’ll want to heat it to 55 degrees, for rare it’s 50 degrees, for medium 60 and well-done 70. Rare will take around 6 hours to cook and well-done up to 8.5.
Monitor the temperature of the beef regularly. As soon as it’s up to temperature remove from the oven and cover with foil to rest for an hour.
As the beef is resting peel and chop the potatoes. Turn the oven up to 200 degrees. Par-boil the potatoes until they’re starting to go soft – watch them closely so they don’t overcook, 10 minutes should do it.
Heat the beef dripping in the oven until it’s shimmering. Add the par-boiled potatoes to the beef fat, mix well, drizzle over the maple syrup and mix again. Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven, cooking for around 30 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.
Meanwhile, make the gravy. Roughly chop the shallots and melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the shallots on a medium heat until starting to brown. Pour the stock in another saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 20 minutes.
Add the white wine to the shallot saucepan and cook down until it’s almost completely reduced. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for another three minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard.
Add the reduced beef stock to the shallots and stir well. Liquidise together, preferably using a hand-held stick blender.
When it’s serving time, re-heat the gravy to a slow simmer and taste. If it’s looking a little thin add a couple of teaspoons of Bisto and stir well to thicken.
In a bowl combine the horseradish sauce and crème fraiche. Mix well.
Serve the beef sliced thinly against the grain with the gravy, potatoes, horseradish crème fraiche, Yorkshire puddings and your favourite winter vegetables.
From now until Christmas, Waitrose are going to be hosting competitions across their social channels giving people the chance to win prizes like Kitchen Aid Mixers, Laurent-Perrier Champagne, fresh Christmas trees with John Lewis decorations and luxury Waitrose Christmas Hampers. Amazing!
This is a collaborative post with my friends at Waitrose.