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Roast Rib of Beef With Port and Stilton Gravy

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

There is something about a big rib of beef sitting proudly on its carving board at the table that makes that table, and those around it, so immediately celebratory: this is a proper, stand-up-and-clap feast.

There is something about a big rib of beef sitting proudly on its carving board at the table that makes that table, and those around it, so immediately celebratory: this is a proper, stand-up-and-clap feast.

Image of Nigella's Roast Rib Of Beef
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8 with leftovers, 14 without

Metric Cups

For the Roast Rib of Beef

  • 1 x 3.8 kilogram Scotch or black Welsh beef forerib (a 4-rib joint)
  • 2 onions (peeled and cut into 1cm rounds)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt flakes or ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Port and Stilton Gravy

  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons fatty juices, from the roast beef tin
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon plain flour
  • 125 millilitres ruby port plus 1 tablespoon extra
  • cooked onions from the roast beef tin (optional)
  • 500 millilitres organic beef stock, "fresh" from a shop-bought tub
  • 125 grams crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly
  • salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • extra juices from the roast beef tin and carving board

For the Roast Rib of Beef

  • 8½ pounds beef standing rib roast (a 4-rib roast)
  • 2 onions (peeled and cut into 1cm rounds)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic flavored oil
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Port and Stilton Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons fatty juices, from the roast beef pan
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ruby port plus 1 tablespoon extra
  • cooked onions from the roast beef pan (optional)
  • 2 cups organic beef broth, from a carton
  • 1¼ cups crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly
  • salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • extra juices from the roasting pan and carving board

Method

For the beef:

  1. Take your beef out of the fridge to bring to room temperature, which could take an hour or possibly more, and preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/425°F.
  2. Put the onion slices into a roasting tin and sit the rib of beef on top of them. Use the onion slices as props to help the rib sit up on its bones in an "L" shape.
  3. Smear the oil over the white fat of the rib, and sprinkle with the salt, thyme and cayenne pepper.
  4. Cook according to the beef's weight and your taste. I like my beef nice and underdone, so I give it 33 minutes per kg/15 minutes per lb, which means, for a joint this size, a cooking time of about 2 hours unless the beef's straight out of the fridge, in which case, add another 20 minutes or so. If you want medium beef, give the joint, from room temperature, 44 minutes per kg/20 minutes per lb, and if you like well-done meat, 66 minutes per kg/30 minutes per lb. As for feeding capacity, this size of joint will certainly look after a big tableful, from 8 with lots of leftovers to 14, without the definite promise of them.
  5. When the beef comes out of the oven, remove to a carving board and allow to rest in a warm part of the kitchen under a tent of foil for 30 minutes before carving; or just leave, tented in its tin, for the same time.
  6. Do not start clearing up the tin, even if you have taken out the beef, however, as you will need some of the pan juices and onions for the gravy, below.

For the Port and Stilton Gravy:

  1. Make a roux by adding the 2 tablespoons of fatty juices from the beef tin to a saucepan, whisk in the flour, and then the 125ml / ½ cup of port, and keep heating and whisking over a fairly gently heat, until thick and bubbling.
  2. If you want to blend the onions and stock, do so now, by putting any but the blackened onions in the blender goblet with the beef stock, and liquidizing. Or leave the stock just as it is, straight out of the tub.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat, and gradually whisk in the beef stock. When all the stock's added, put the pan back on the heat and cook, whisking to make sure any lumps are banished, over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Crumble in the Stilton, then drop in the redcurrant jelly and turn up the heat to let the gravy bubble for 5 minutes.
  5. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed, and then the remaining tablespoon of port, along with any bloody juices - what we called red gravy when I was a child - from the carved beef. Pour into a warmed gravy boat.

For the beef:

  1. Take your beef out of the fridge to bring to room temperature, which could take an hour or possibly more, and preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/gas mark 7/425°F.
  2. Put the onion slices into a roasting tin and sit the rib of beef on top of them. Use the onion slices as props to help the rib sit up on its bones in an "L" shape.
  3. Smear the oil over the white fat of the rib, and sprinkle with the salt, thyme and cayenne pepper.
  4. Cook according to the beef's weight and your taste. I like my beef nice and underdone, so I give it 33 minutes per kg/15 minutes per lb, which means, for a joint this size, a cooking time of about 2 hours unless the beef's straight out of the fridge, in which case, add another 20 minutes or so. If you want medium beef, give the joint, from room temperature, 44 minutes per kg/20 minutes per lb, and if you like well-done meat, 66 minutes per kg/30 minutes per lb. As for feeding capacity, this size of joint will certainly look after a big tableful, from 8 with lots of leftovers to 14, without the definite promise of them.
  5. When the beef comes out of the oven, remove to a carving board and allow to rest in a warm part of the kitchen under a tent of foil for 30 minutes before carving; or just leave, tented in its tin, for the same time.
  6. Do not start clearing up the tin, even if you have taken out the beef, however, as you will need some of the pan juices and onions for the gravy, below.

For the Port and Stilton Gravy:

  1. Make a roux by adding the 2 tablespoons of fatty juices from the beef tin to a saucepan, whisk in the flour, and then the 125ml / ½ cup of port, and keep heating and whisking over a fairly gently heat, until thick and bubbling.
  2. If you want to blend the onions and stock, do so now, by putting any but the blackened onions in the blender goblet with the beef stock, and liquidizing. Or leave the stock just as it is, straight out of the tub.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat, and gradually whisk in the beef stock. When all the stock's added, put the pan back on the heat and cook, whisking to make sure any lumps are banished, over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
  4. Crumble in the Stilton, then drop in the redcurrant jelly and turn up the heat to let the gravy bubble for 5 minutes.
  5. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed, and then the remaining tablespoon of port, along with any bloody juices - what we called red gravy when I was a child - from the carved beef. Pour into a warmed gravy boat.

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