Tender roast beef, with mustard and cream baked leeks

I actually had this on Thursday, but it’s being published on a Sunday, the holy day of roasts.

Leeks are in season at the moment, and also have the benefit of being really nice. Oniony but fresh. Cooking them in a mustard sauce basically combines the best bits of beef and mustard, and the best parts of a leek and potato pie (sans potatoes) two great, classic combinations.

Easier to make this at the weekend- I had to go like the clappers to get this cooked after work to eat before 9 pm. At the weekend you can cook it slower and lower and really get the best beef.

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Ingredients

Beef

A nice beef joint
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
Bay
Sage
Thyme
Rosemary

Leeks

3 large leeks
250 ml milk
25g flour
25g butter
100g cheddar
25g hard strong cheese (parmesan or pecorino)
1 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp English mustard
Handful of breadcrumbs

Method

Set the oven to around 220c.

Chop up the carrots, celery and 2 bay leaves and dress with a very little oil, in a roasting tray. Stick this in the oven while you prepare the meat.

Rub the meat with a tiny bit more oil and then rub over a mix of a little sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Gentle with these, you want background flavour- cook the beef right and that should be the main event. Stick this in the roasting tray and cook at 220c for about 20 minutes, till the outside is looking cooked.

Put the temperature down to 125c. Should be about 35 minutes, plus 35 for every 500g. As with all roasts, better to do it by temperature. 50c is rare, 65c medium and anything over that you’re reading the wrong blog. So you have time now.

Chop up the leeks, and put them in a pan of cold water. Bring this to the boil for three minutes then drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process.

To make the sauce, start by making a simple white sauce, by bringing the milk, butter and flour to the boil, stirring constantly. When it comes to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat. Add 100g of the cheese while it’s still hot enough to melt it, then stir in the mustards and a little salt and pepper.

Put the leeks in a medium ovenproof dish, pour over the sauce, then sprinkle the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs on top.

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You should bake this about 15 minutes before your meat is finished, turning the heat up to about 200c when you remove the meat to get the top a nice golden brown.

Get the roasting tray and remove the carrots and leeks and bay leaf with a slotted spoon- these are aromatics, to add flavour to the meal, so you don’t need to eat them, but sometimes they come out lovely, and make a nice side. You should have a bunch of  scud and burned bits in the bottom of the tray- these can be used to make an amazing, flavourful gravy. Simply but the tray on a hob, add about half a pint of beef stock and a teaspoon of cornflour, and boil it down, scraping up the burnt bits and stirring as you go till it reaches a nice consistency. If you like your gravy thin, don’t use cornflour, if you like it as a lump of beefy jelly, add a tablespoon, but make sure you cook it out, or it will taste floury and horrible.

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Serve it all up, with some greens because you need your five a day (I went with steamed kale, dressed with a little salt to take away the bitter tang) eat it all up, and bear in mind that that much leek and cream may cause a little post roast flatulence!

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