Roast topside of beef with roasties and gravy
- April 2015
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 30 min, oven time 1½-1¾ hours
Make this affordable roast dinner with a topside of beef. Coat the beef in a wonderful rub, made simply with just three ingredients: mustard, sugar and sea salt.
Make sure you check out our video in the tips section to see how this roast topside of beef is made
- 29.2g (12.8g saturated)
- 50g (2.3g sugars)
See Wine Match
- 2 tbsp mustard powder
- 1½ tbsp sea salt
- 2 generous pinches brown sugar
- 1 tbsp flavourless oil, such as sunflower or light olive oil
- 1.5kg British grass-fed topside of beef (see tips)
For the roast potatoes
- 1.5kg floury potatoes (peeled weight), cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 100g beef dripping or sunflower oil
For the gravy
- 150ml madeira, red wine or port, plus an extra splash (see Know-how)
- 1-2 tbsp beef dripping
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml good quality beef stock
You’ll also need
- Digital probe thermometer
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ gas 8. Put the mustard powder, sea salt, brown sugar and oil in a pestle and mortar, and pound to a thick paste. Rub this all over the beef, then put it in a roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/ gas 3½ and roast for 50-55 minutes until a digital probe thermometer pushed into the centre of the meat reads 45°C for medium-rare or 55°C for medium. Remove from the oven (the temperature at the centre of the joint will continue to rise briefly) and rest on a board for 20-30 minutes. Set aside the tin with the roasting juices.
- Once the beef is in the oven, start cooking the potatoes. Put them in a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 8-10 minutes until they’re tender and about to start falling apart. Drain well, allowing them to steam in a colander for 2 minutes. Put the beef dripping/oil in another large roasting tin and put in the oven under the beef to heat up.
- Return the potatoes to the saucepan, scatter over the flour and some salt, then shake the pan vigorously so the flour coats the potatoes and the edges roughen up.
- When the fat in the tin is shimmering hot, carefully transfer the potatoes to the roasting tin, along with any mashed bits stuck to the bottom. Turn the potatoes in the fat so they’re evenly coated. Roast on the shelf below the meat.
- When the meat is out of the oven, turn the heat up to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Toss the potatoes, then roast for another 20-30 minutes until deep golden and crisp.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy. Put the beef roasting tin on the hob to heat, then pour in the madeira/wine/ port. Scrape the bottom of the tin with a wooden spoon to loosen and dissolve all the sticky bits from the meat. Pour into a jug and leave to settle for a minute, then skim off the fat from the top with a spoon and put in a bowl. You should have a couple of tablespoons of fat – if not, make up the quantity with beef dripping.
- Set a medium pan over a medium heat, add the scooped fat, then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the flour starts to smell biscuity. Pour in the madeira juices, turn up the heat and bubble until thickened to a paste. Over a high heat, slowly add the beef stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thick, glossy gravy. Stir through any resting juices from the meat, add an extra splash of madeira, then taste and season. Keep warm over a low heat.
- Thinly slice the meat. Serve with the potatoes and gravy, with greens on the side, if you like.
Roast from room temperature. Take the meat out of the fridge at least 2 hours before cooking; fridge-cold meat cooks unevenly.
Cut the potatoes in slightly varying sizes – it will give some fluffy and some crispy potatoes.
Parboil the potatoes well. This will help to create the fluffiness that then becomes crisp – essential in a good roastie.
Don’t add the stock to the gravy too quickly. Stir it in gradually to give the flour a chance to thicken it. Add as much of the meat’s resting juices as you can (they can make the difference between average gravy and an incredible one).
Use good stock. Cubes don’t cut it here.
Look for grass-fed beef. The meat will be more intensely flavoured than that of grain-fed cattle. Grass-fed beef fat has yellower fat than grain fed – any good butcher can advise you.
Replace the mustard rub with spices and herbs: finely chopped fresh rosemary, crushed black pepper or 1 tsp smoked paprika. You can roast unpeeled garlic cloves with the potatoes, with sprigs of woody herbs, such as thyme.
Watch how to make the roast topside of beef from start to finish here:
Make the gravy in a saucepan using dripping instead of the roasting fat and chill, covered, for up to 3 days. Or freeze in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Stir through the meat juices once you’ve cooked the beef.
Boil and flour the roasties, cool completely, then freeze on trays until solid. Bag up and freeze for up to 1 month. Tumble, frozen, into the hot dripping/oil and add an extra 10 minutes to the roasting time.
Madeira is a fortified wine from Portugal, available in dry and sweet styles. Its richness works well with meat. A bottle will last for ages.
What's the perfect wine match?
Our friends at Majestic Wine recommend Gevrey Chambertin Gauvin. The intensely aromatic Gevrey-Chambertin calls for rich dishes. Its acidity, briar-fruit and a smoky aftertaste will emphasises this dish’s savoury beef and sweet gravy.£35 | Buy Now See all red burgundy
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