Yorkshire Pudding, The Day After
We had a standing rib roast recently — two of them, actually, since my family can’t seem to co-ordinate Christmas dinner. One was on Christmas and one was two days past Epiphany, which is officially beyond the Twelve Days of Christmas, but any excuse for rib roast is fine with me.
Rib roast calls for Yorkshire pudding. The Baron, having spent his high school years in Yorkshire, loves pud. As do those who were fortunate enough to taste the ones his mother made. My Irish mother made Yorkshire pudding on occasion. She was a spectacularly bad cook, but the YP was in her blood so she made a decent one when we could afford the roast to go with it.
This last time, as we were cleaning up from dinner, the Baron happened to mention a dish he’d had in Yorkshire when he went back to visit a few years ago. He described it as a small, individual pudding which was topped with beef stew.
“Say no more,” I told him. “That’s what we’ll do with the rest of the rib roast.” My recipes for both follow:
Beef Stew (made from left-over cooked rib roast)
Preheat oven to 400 or so.
Put enough carrots for whomever you’re feeding into a roasting pan lined with tinfoil.
Add a few chopped up onions,
a leek if you have it (white only),
some unpeeled garlic cloves,
celery hunks, perhaps.
Spray with oil, sprinkle lightly with flour, and put in oven. Stir occasionally as they roast. Spray a little more oil if they look dry. If you like parsnips, turnips, etc., you can use those, too.
At the same time place ½ cup or so of flour into another pan and put in oven. Stir this occasionally until it browns a bit (you’ll use this to make gravy).
Scrub enough potatoes (I used three) to go with the rest of the ingredients.
Bring to a boil enough water to cover the potatoes, add salt and then cube the potatoes into the water.
Turn down to medium when it returns to the boil. Cover and simmer for ten minutes (if you want to avoid having the potatoes boil over when your back is turned, put a little oil or butter around the rim of the saucepan — about an inch into the pan— before you start. If you forget, do it with a pastry brush while they’re cooking)
Cook for about 10 minutes and drain in colander. Set aside.
Now cube the beef. Scrape whatever juices remain on the plate and ribs and set aside with the cubed meat.
If you’ve saved the roasting pan with its fat and juices, now is the time to haul it out of the fridge where it was taking up too much room anyway.
Crack up the solid fat and discard, being careful to scrape off any congealed juices clinging to it. Use what remains ( two tablespoons or so of fat — just eyeball it) to make the gravy for the stew.
Heat roasting pan on low and add enough of the browned flour to make a thin gravy.
If you have left-over red wine, now’s the time to add it, before you pour in water or beef broth. Or both.
Use a whisk to smooth out the gravy. Put in a few dashes of Lea and Perrins. Set aside.
Heat a large stew pan over medium heat for a few minutes before putting in a bit of spray or some rendered beef fat on the bottom and sides of the pan.
Add the cubed beef and cook very briefly, perhaps five minutes, stirring a few times.
Pour the gravy over the meat.
Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and add to stew pot, mixing well.
At this point, use pepper grinder generously over stew.
Add a tablespoon of tomato paste
and one of pistou, if you have it (this is easily made by blender, using only basil, nuts, oil, and garlic. Don’t add cheese. Freeze it in small hunks and bag it when frozen).
If you don’t have pistou, use a small bit of anchovy paste and a basil leaf. Cover stew and turn fairly low so it’s just simmering.
Spread the cubed, parboiled potatoes in the just-vacated veggie pan. Spray lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt and crushed pepper and put in oven. Stir them around every few minutes so they brown slightly, very slightly. Roast about ten minutes.
For the puddings:
Using heavy 8 inch cake pans, line the outside with foil (this just provides an extra layer to keep the bottoms from overheating).
Put in a square of the solid rendered beef fat from the roasting pan (about a tablespoon) into the cake pans. Set aside.
Measure out a cup of flour (use metal cups, not the graduated glass kind for liquids).
Warm two eggs under running water.
Heat a cup of milk (use the glass pyrex cup for this) in microwave just until it reaches room temperature.
Beat eggs well (use a whisk briefly) and add milk.
Sift the flour/salt into the milk/egg mixture and whisk briefly to distribute. Don’t beat it much, leave a lump or two. Set aside.
At the finish line...
Remove potatoes from oven. Turn oven up to 450.
Put potatoes into stew.
At this point, add a cup of frozen peas also, and chopped fresh parsley if you have it.
Stir, taste for salt, and cover again.
Put cake pans into oven to preheat. Leave them in for 3 minutes or so.
Stir the pudding mixture,
remove the pans, swirl the melted fat around the pan
and quickly pour in the batter.
Return to oven and don’t open the door. Here is where an oven light helps because you can watch their progress. Lacking that, figure on 20 - 22 minutes for them to rise and cook through.
Remove pans, open puddings up (use a fork or sharp knife) and spoon in a generous serving of stew.
Place pans on dinner plates and serve. People can use their napkin to hold the pan initially but it will cool enough to touch quite quickly.
That looks like a lot of work but it's not if you do it in steps. Roast the veggies one day and make gravy at the same time. Blend them and refrigerate. Then the next day you can make the pudding and finish the stew with the meat.
Besides, you're likely to have stew for yet another meal. If you serve the potatoes separately you can freeze it. Potatoes don't freeze well, but turnips do.