Knowing I was going to be working for 11 days straight up to Christmas Day, I decided a fuss-free joint of beef would be vital for a relaxed Christmas dinner. Finding time to collect the meat was another challenge but I managed to get to the butchers just in time to collect a beautiful Côte de Boeuf. Cut from a carcass which had been hung for 60 days, it proved the perfect choice. Seasoned, roasted for 20 minutes in a hot oven, then for an hour and a half at 160C, this 2kg beauty needed only to rest for half an hour covered in foil to be exactly what I had hoped for.
It's become something of a ritual with us that the following day the cold meat must be served with Gratin Dauphinoise potatoes. If there is anything left of the joint beyond that then a bit of inventiveness is called for to keep everyone's interest, yet so much food has been consumed that a light touch is needed. In this case a cold beef salad proved to be a hit. Watercress has an affinity with beef so the choice of salad leaf was easy. Creamed Horseradish was to hand, being a must if you have beef on Christmas Day, as were a handful of the tiniest capers, so this was the basis of my dressing. I offer this now for those of you who are about to start your New Year celebrations. I think it would work equally well with warm of cold beef.
Dressing for Watercress served with Beef
1 teaspoon horseradish cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice or wine vinegar
5 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon capers
Mix the first four ingredients to an emulsion, then stir in the capers. Dress your watercress and serve with thin slices of beef.
Good Eating and Happy New Year