Growing up, we never had a set traditional holiday meal. Sure, some years my mom would make a turkey, but sometimes she’d make duck, or salmon, but really, she’d essentially make any mix of dishes she felt like at the moment. There’d always be an Asian theme because we’re Chinese and a meal isn’t a meal without rice or noodles, so I guess maybe that was always consistent. But other than that, the holidays were basically an excuse to gather everyone around and feast on yummy food, whatever it might be.
The holidays are still kind of a little like a hodgepodge of food things, especially for us because we’re hardly ever home for the holidays. This December we’re in Japan, and we’re going to be doing our little tradition (it involves fried chicken, a Japanese potato salad Christmas tree, yuzu chicken meatballs, spaghetti, and sushi >_<) but while we were still at home, I made this classic English roast for all the holiday feels because there’s just something about a roast that makes me feel cozy.
I didn’t grow up eating roasts – in fact we didn’t eat beef growing up, but for some reason there’s something very primal and satisfying about placing a huge piece of meat in the oven, having the house fill with delicious smell, then carving it up for dinner, with all the classic English sides. It feels very proper, very holiday, and whenever I do it, we’re always saying to each other, let’s do this more often!
I prepped this while watching multiple episodes of Nigella’s Christmas specials on youtube. Nigella is the queen of Christmastime! I love watching her Christmas specials because they remind me of when I used to watch them religiously on the Food Network while wrapping presents when I was a teenager. I always wanted to go over to her house for one of her ridiculously over the top yet satisfyingly simple Christmas dinner parties. She and Mariah will always, always be Christmas to me.
Anyway, I served this roast with some Instant Pot mashed potatoes (dare I say there were better than regular? I’ll post the recipe soon), mini Yorkshire puddings, and quickly sautéed green beans. Mike made some scotch eggs and a classic British style gravy. It was a holiday feast fit for Nigella 🙂
PS – I’m finally better!! That one took a lot out of me. I was a huge baby and basically did nothing for a solid two weeks. Mike would say that I did nothing for three weeks which is probably a lot more accurate. I love that he took over for the blog and now he’s going to be doing more posts because he’s so good at it, so keep your eyes peeled!
Simple Classic English Roast Recipe
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 2.5 hours
total time: 2.5 hours
- 3-pound chuck roast/English roast
- 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
- 6-8 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon rosemary needles, minced
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- generous sprinkling kosher salt
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 500°F.
Mix together the room temperature butter, sage, rosemary, and pepper. Lightly pat the roast dry with paper towels and place the roast in a shallow roasting dish. Rub the butter mixture evenly all over the roast. Season generously with salt.
Place in the 500°F oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200°F and roast for 2 hours. The roast will come out to a rosy medium rare. You can check with an instant read thermomether, it should be around 120°F. Remove the roast from the oven.
Pour the excess fat from the roasting tray into a glass liquid measuring cup and set aside. Lightly scrape any loose remaining pan drippings from roasting dish into a small saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of reserved beef fat from the measuring cup. Add chopped celery, shallots, and crushed garlic and cook until soft but not brown. Stir in flour and continue cooking until flour disappears and becomes a light roux. Add stock, reduce by half or until thickened to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the roast according to your thickness preference and serve with au jus. Enjoy!
Note: Make sure your oven’s running at the right temp with an oven thermometer. Also make sure it’s clean because otherwise leftover residue might cause it to smoke 🙂