Succulent roast beef, crispy roast potatoes and root vegetables, and feather-light, old-fashioned Yorkshire puddings make one of the best loved of Sunday lunches. This healthy version will please everyone, even the traditionalists.
1.5 kg boned, rolled and tied lean sirloin of beef, trimmed of fat
pepper to taste
4 teaspoons prepared English mustard (optional)
1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
650 g baby parsnips, halved lengthways
650 g baby carrots, halved lengthways
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
650 g broccoli florets
450 ml reduced-salt beef stock
pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain flour
100 ml low-fat milk
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
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Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Put the meat, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Season with pepper, then spread with 3 teaspoons of the English mustard, if using. Roast the meat in the oven according to the weight (see the cook's tip). Baste occasionally with the juices in the pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the Yorkshire pudding batter. Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Add a little of the milk and beat together, gradually beginning to work in the flour. Slowly beat in the remaining milk and 4 tablespoons water until all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Set aside.
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan, then cover and shake vigorously to roughen the surface of the potatoes (this helps to make them crisp).
Place the parsnips and carrots in another large saucepan of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes, then drain.
One hour before the end of the roasting time for the beef, put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a nonstick roasting pan and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in another nonstick roasting pan. Heat on top of the stove, then add the potatoes to the 2 tablespoons oil and the parsnips and carrots to the 1 tablespoon oil. Baste each piece of vegetable with oil, then quickly place the pans in the oven with the beef. (With a gas oven, put the potatoes above the meat, and the carrots and parsnips below.) After 30 minutes, turn all the vegetables so they crisp and brown evenly.
When the beef is cooked, remove it from the oven and increase the heat to 220ºC. Place the beef on a warmed plate, cover with foil and keep warm. Divide the oil for the Yorkshire puddings among 12 cups in a nonstick muffin pan and place the pan in the top of the oven to heat for 2–3 minutes. (Move the potatoes down a shelf.) Stir the batter, pour it into the pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the puddings are risen and golden-brown.
Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 10 minutes or until tender. To make the gravy, pour the fat very slowly out of the roasting pan, leaving the sediment behind. Place the pan on top of the stove and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring and scraping up the browned cooking residue on the bottom of the pan, then simmer until slightly reduced. Season with pepper and stir in the remaining mustard, if using.
To serve, transfer the meat to a warmed serving platter and surround with the roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips and the Yorkshire puddings. Place the broccoli in a warmed serving dish. Add any meat juices that have collected on the plate to the gravy and stir to combine, then skim off any fat. Pour the gravy into a gravy boat and serve immediately.
For rare roast beef, cook for 20 minutes per 500 g plus 20 minutes. For medium, cook for 25 minutes per 500 g plus 25 minutes. For well done, cook for 30 minutes per 500 g plus 30 minutes.