The best beef dishes to make for your Christmas holiday table
‘Tis the season for large meats. Roast turkey, glazed ham, porchetta…this is a truly excellent time of year for meat lovers. Of course, here at Steak School we welcome the holidays in the best way we know: by cooking up a lot of beef.
If you’re hosting a big lunch or dinner this year and need a little inspiration, here are some of the best beef dishes to grace your holiday table.
The Slow Roast
First up, it’s a classic family favourite, the roast beef. Rub it, roll it, roast it and sauce it, roasts are a delicious centrepiece that will feed the whole family. (And if you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, load it up the next day between two slices of bread for the ultimate roast beef sandwich).
When it comes to beef cuts, the options for a roast are endless, from cube roll to topside to tenderloin. If you’re not sure, ask your local butcher to make a great recommendation for you.
The beauty of a holiday roast is letting the oven do all the hard work for you, so you’re free to prepare other dishes or greet guests. Once you season the beef you can sear it off in a pan for a bit of colour and to help the cooking process along, but otherwise all you really need is a roasting pan and a meat thermometer to check once it reaches its desired temperature.
Just remember the time and weight formula. If you’re looking for a nice medium doneness, cook it for 25 minutes for every 500g. (Want it medium rare? Go for 20 minutes. More on the well done side? Aim for 30…and so on.)
Carve your roast nice and thin, and serve it up alongside an assortment of seasonal veggies and homemade jus or gravy, made using all the leftover fat and juices from the pan.
For those who prefer a traditional English take, these life changing roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings are the perfect side dish to accompany the beef.
Check out how to cook the perfect roast beef in the video below.
The Show-Stopping Beef Wellington
Gordon Ramsay, this one’s for you.
If you’re looking to impress a crowd, Beef Wellington is guaranteed to do it every time. It’s basically a piece of beef fillet or tenderloin wrapped in many tasty things – Dijon mustard, prosciutto, a decadent mushroom filling and puff pastry. Plus, it makes for a pretty exciting presentation when it hits the table.
The dish is said to be named after the Duke of Wellington who, while known for his strategic skills in The Battle of Waterloo, had an incredibly picky palate and would only be satisfied with a “roast in crust”. Us too, Duke, us too.
We’ve taken the traditional Wellington and adapted it into an “each-to-their-own” dish, portioned individually using six smaller pieces of beef fillet. If you’re making a whole Wellington, look for a tenderloin that is even in thickness from one end to the other (trim the ends off if you need to).
The Share Steak
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean a steak is off the table. But we’re not talking about cooking up fifteen rump steaks for everyone on the guest list. Consider buying one really good cut of meat – such as a tomahawk, Florentine or even a skirt steak – to feed the whole crowd.
Whether you smoke it, grill it or reverse sear it, if you’ve got a good quality piece of meat then all you really need to do is salt it first to help form a nice crust. Slice it into pieces and serve it on a wooden board, if you fancy, so everyone can help themselves.
Remember, when it comes to holiday feasting, people like to grab a bit of everything. Aim for at least three sides (and don’t forget the sauce) to go with it for a heartier family-style meal.
Check out these ideas:
Florentine Steak: Bistecca Alla Fiorentina
Whole grilled Angus flank steak
Tomahawk steak with chimichurri & roasted peppers
Onglet a l’echalote (French hanger steak)
The Crowd Pleasers
A brisket for the holidays? Ask any Jewish family and they’ll tell you it just makes sense.
Slow cooked brisket casseroles are great because they are affordable, feed a lot of people and are just soul-warmingly delicious.
Though the technique is easy, braising a brisket does take time and patience so make sure you start early. The key to a good braised brisket is to make sure the beef is completely covered in a rich braising liquid and let it cook low and slow for hours.
At the end of the process, you will be rewarded with a juicy, tender piece of beef.
Try these recipes:
Easy pull-apart beef brisket in the oven
Italian style slow braised beef brisket
Whatever beef dish you’re making for the holidays, make sure you wash it all down with the right wine pairing.
Got a favourite holiday recipe you’d like to contribute? Let us know!