Ale Soaked Roast Beef with Potato and Leek Gratin

Whoever said roasts were only made for Sundays is about to be proven wrong with this dish, as it is perfect for an easy mid-week roast. You don’t have to spend hours over the stove preparing all the trimmings to enjoy a roast dinner, as they can be made simpler with a small and pre-soaked joint of meat and some simple but exceedingly tasty sides, and no roast would be complete without an awesome gravy; which this is most certainly not lacking.

I have to say, although I am really sad about the summer slipping away, I do love a good winter meal and I am most certainly excited for more roast dinners, casseroles and crumbles. If this meal is the marking of autumn then I welcome it with open arms!

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Serves 2 with some left over beef for a butty the next day

For the Potato Gratin

–          250g potatoes – Peeled and thinly sliced

–          25g butter

–          1 red onion – finely sliced

–          1 clove garlic

–          2 bay leaves

–          ½ tsp grated nutmeg

–          2 cloves

–          200ml milk

–          150ml crème fresh

–          1 leek

–          Grated Cheddar

For the Roast Beef

–          ¾ pint good quality ale

–          650g beef roasting joint

–          1 onion – quartered

–          2 carrots – peeled, halved and cut into chunks

–          1 tsp mustard powder

–          3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

–          ¼ pint gravy

Soak the beef in the ale over night

Preheat the oven to 180’C

To make the gratin, boil the sliced potatoes in salty water for 5 minutes, just to give them a slight softness

In a saucepan heat two thirds of the butter and gently fry the onion, garlic and the leek for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, nutmeg, bay leaves and cloves to the pan, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for ten minutes so the flavours all combine

Take the milk off the heat and remove the cloves and bay leaves. Leave to cool for a minute and then stir in the crème fresh and season to taste

In an oven proof dish (about 7” by 5”), use the remaining butter to grease the bottom and side and then place on a layer of potatoes

Top this with some of the leek and onion from the milk and repeat the stage until you have used up all of your potatoes

Pour the milk mixture over the top and finish off with grated cheese and a good twist of black pepper

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

In the mean time, to roast the beef, place the carrots and onions in the bottom of a roasting tin and place the beef on top, pour the ale over the top and roast for 40 minutes, basting several times in-between to re-soak the beef

After the 40 minutes, remove the beef, place on a chopping boards and cover for 10-15 minutes

Transfer the juices to a saucepan and return the carrots to the oven to crisp up

Heat the beef juices and stir in the balsamic vinegar

Mix the mustard powder with a little water and stir that in too. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the gravy mix.

Leave this to simmer on a low heat until needed

Slice the beef – due to it being soaked over night it will not come out looking rare but it will still be juicy.

Plate up all the ingredients and serve with fresh green veggies, gotta get your 5 a day!

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