My Last Supper takes the old "last bite on earth" game to the next level by asking that question of 50 of the world's best-known and most-loved chefs. Though beautifully photographed and almost more of a coffee-table book in size and format, there are some serious recipes in here to accompany the memorable visuals and fun interviews. As this week's featured Cook the Book entry, we'll be highlighting a recipe a day from it. Today's is by Gordon Ramsay, who really needs no introduction around these parts. In the book, Ramsay's succinct interview matches the let's-get-this-over-with expression on his face. It's not so much the interview we're interested in this time but the delicious-sounding roast beef, which follows below. I do like the fact that he'd listen to Keane's first album during the meal, though.
- 2 3/4 to 3 1/3 pounds (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 kilograms) rib beef, on the bone
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, pIus more for seasoning beef
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (225 g) plain flour
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
- About 4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil (or beef drippings), for cooking
- 3 to 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 red onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 bottle red wine (about 1/2 cups, or 350 ml)
- 5 cups (1/4 liter) beef stock
Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Season the beef with salt and pepper; sear in a hot roasting pan with the olive oil to brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes each side. Transfer to oven; roast, allowing 15 minutes a pound (450 g) for rare or 20 minutes a pound (450 g) for medium.
Make the Yorkshire pudding batter: Sift the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs and half the milk; beat until smooth. Mix in remaining milk; let batter rest.
When beef is cooked, transfer it to a warmed plate; let it rest, lightly covered with foil, in a warm place while you cook the puddings and make the gravy. Raise oven to 450°F (230°C). Put 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil--or hot from the roasting pan--into each section of a 12-hole Yorkshire pudding tray (or a muffin tray); put it in the oven on the top shelf until very hot, almost smoking.
Meanwhile, whisk pudding batter again. As soon as you take the tray from the oven, ladle in the batter so each cup is three-quarters full (it should sizzle); immediately put tray back in oven. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes until the Yorkshire puddings are well risen, golden brown, and crisp. Don't open oven door until end or they might collapse.
To make the gravy, pour off the excess fat from roasting pan, place pan over medium heat, and add the thyme, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, pour in the wine, and bring to a simmer. Squash the tomatoes with a potato masher to help thicken sauce. Pour in the stock; simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Pass gravy through a sieve, pressing vegetables to extract flavor. Bring gravy back to boil; reduce to a gravy consistency. Check the seasoning.
Carve the beef thinly. Serve with the gravy and Yorkshire puddings, along with sautéed cabbage, glazed carrots, and roast potatoes.