Roast Dexter beef with thyme and fennel crust




Roast Dexter beef with thyme and fennel crust
We’ve recently started stocking locally reared Dexter cattle beef so what better for this month’s offering than a traditional roast recipe? The recipe below includes a crunchy deep crust of herb-flavoured breadcrumbs to ensure a succulent roast.
Recipe type: Main
  • 150g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 6 large fresh sprigs thyme
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 1.25kg rolled beef topside, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 celeriac, peeled
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 300g shallots, peeled
  • 100ml medium-sweet sherry, madeira or port
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Mix the breadcrumbs and fennel seeds in a bowl with the leaves from two of the thyme sprigs and seasoning to taste. Sprinkle 2tbsp of the olive oil and the milk over the crumbs and mix thoroughly until they are moist and clump together.
  2. Place the beef in a large, lightly oiled roasting tin and spread with the mustard. Press the crumb mixture on the top of the meat to make a neat, firm crust. Roast for about 1¾ hours for a medium result or about 2 hours for well-done, juicy meat. Cover the crust loosely with a piece of foil after 1 hour to prevent over-browning, then remove the foil for the final 5 mins of cooking. Cut the celeriac and sweet potatoes into 3.5cm chunks and place in a large bowl. Halve the carrots lengthways, then cut them across into chunky sticks. Add to the bowl with the shallots and the remaining thyme leaves and oil. Mix well. The vegetables require about 1 hour for roasting, so put them in the oven when the beef has been cooking for 45 mins to 1 hour. Arrange around the meat, placing any that won't fit in a separate roasting tin or ovenproof dish. Turn the vegetables and baste them once during cooking. Remove the meat and vegetables to a warmed serving dish and cover with foil. Pour 300ml water into the roasting tin and bring to the boil, stirring and scraping up all the browned cooking residue on the bottom of the tin. Add the sherry, Madeira or port and boil steadily for 5–7 mins, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced by about half. Season, then strain into a jug. Serve with the roast vegetables and gravy.


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