Much of our culture we inherited from the British, and none more than our love for meat and potatoes. America is more famous for its steaks and hamburgers than for its roasts, but beef has always been our choice for many special meals. This is the time of year, during the holidays, to indulge your family and guests to a “joint” of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. The following menu, inspired by the British, was enjoyed by my friends and family.
Potted Shrimp with Wilted Spinach Salad
Purchase 1 pound (21-25) of medium-sized shrimp. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons salt and cook the shrimp until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and de-vein the shrimp, then cut them into small 1/4-inch pieces.
Melt 1 stick of good-quality unsalted butter in a saucepan. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 teaspoon ground mace, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Place the chopped shrimp in the pan and simmer at very low heat for 15 minutes. Place into individual crocks (or one bigger one) and chill.
Meanwhile, melt another 4 tablespoons butter, letting the solids settle to the bottom of the pan. Spoon the clarified butter over each crock of shrimp and return to the refrigerator until service. Spread the shrimp mixture on hot toast and serve.
For the salad, buy 1 bag of local field spinach and cut the leaves off of the stems. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and wash thoroughly. Dry in a salad spinner and refrigerate.
At service time, chop 1/4 pound bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
Add 1 chopped red onion to the bacon fat along with 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Sauté briefly and add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup cider vinegar.
Pour the hot dressing over the spinach, toss and serve.
Rib-eye Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
A boneless rib-eye roast is a good choice in that it is easy to handle and has all the flavor and tenderness of a bone-in roast.
To serve 4-6 people you will need a 5-pound roast. If you purchase a whole rib-eye (about 13 pounds) you can save some money. Just cut the unused part into rib-eye steaks.
Trim as much fat from the rib roast as you can, leaving about 1/4-inch fat cover. Cut the trimmed fat into small pieces and place it in the bottom of your roasting pan.
Score the fat cover on the roast with the point of your knife and season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Place a rack over the fat in the roasting pan and put the beef on the rack, fat side up. Roast at 250 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees (about 2 1/2 hours) and remove from the oven. Set the roast on a sheet pan in a warm place, cover with foil and let rest for 1 hour.
Pour off the rendered fat from the bottom of the roasting pan and reserve for the Yorkshire pudding.
Just before service time heat a large sauté pan and brown the cooked roast at high heat on all sides for about 5 minutes to provide a crusty, brown exterior. Put the roast on a board for carving and deglaze the sauté pan with 2 cups beef broth and 1/2 cup red wine. Place this sauce in a gravy boat for your au jus.
For the Yorkshire pudding, put 2 teaspoons of the rendered beef fat in each section of a muffin tin.
Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour and 1 teaspoon salt.
Place the muffin tin in a 425-degree oven until the fat begins to smoke, about 3 minutes.
Quickly remove the muffin tin from the oven and fill each section 3/4 full of the pudding batter. Place back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Do this just before serving, as the Yorkshire pudding will deflate pretty quickly.
Carve the roast, place Yorkshire pudding on the side and ladle au jus over the meat.
Note: If desired, you can place fingerling potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in the bottom of the roasting pan after removing the roast. Roast the vegetables at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. The remaining beef fat, with some added salt, pepper and herbs, should provide lots of flavor.
Steamed Christmas Pudding with Rum Sauce
Rinse 1 bag of fresh cranberries and pulse them in your food processor so that they retain their texture.
Transfer to a large bowl and add 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup chopped candied fruit, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch each of nutmeg and cloves. Add 1/4 cup dark rum and fold in 1 1/2 cups flour.
In a separate bowl combine 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup honey, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup boiling water.
Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon.
Spray 4-6 soufflé ramekins with no-stick and fill them with the pudding mixture. Cover each ramekin with foil and tie with string to make a tight seal.
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a large pasta pot and invert a pie tin in the bottom. Place the filled ramekins on top of the inverted pie tin and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the puddings steam for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove, let cool for a few minutes and turn them out on a plate to serve.
For the sauce, combine 4 ounces butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup rum. Add this mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Serve warm over the warm pudding.