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Sichuan pepper-crusted rib of beef with red wine gravy

message posted 12-May-08 13:57:17
Serves 8

The timings below are for beef that goes into the oven at room temperature. A French-trimmed rib of beef means that the chine bone has been removed and the bones scraped clean ready for roasting your butcher will be able to do this for you. Ask to keep the trimmings and place them in the roasting tray with the vegetables.

3 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Handful of lemon thyme, leaves picked
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2.3kg rib of beef (trimmed weight), French-trimmed
Sea salt
3 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
3 sticks of celery, cut into long pieces

Few sprigs of lemon thyme
4 plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
a bottle of red wine
1.2 litres beef stock

1 Heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7. Using a large pestle and mortar or spice grinder, grind the Sichuan peppercorns, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, lemon thyme, olive oil and Dijon mustard together to a paste. Season the beef with salt, then rub the mixture over the beef, leaving the ends uncovered.

2 Put the carrots and celery (and any beef trimmings) in a large roasting tin, then rest the beef on top. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove the beef from the oven and cover the crust with a double layer of foil. Turn the oven temperature down to 160C/Gas 3 and continue to roast for about 80 minutes for rare (90 minutes for medium-rare and 1 hour and 40 minutes for medium).

3 When the meat is cooked to your liking, lift out the beef and leave to rest in a warm place while you make the gravy. Pour off the excess fat from the tin, place on a medium heat and add the lemon thyme and tomatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then pour in the wine and bring to a simmer.

4 Squash the tomatoes into the sauce with a potato masher to help thicken and add flavour. Pour in the stock and bubble vigorously for about 10 minutes until reduced by half. Pass the gravy through a sieve, pressing the vegetables to extract even more flavour.

5 Return the gravy to the heat and reduce to a gravy consistency. Meanwhile, start to carve the beef thinly. Check the gravy for seasoning, then pour into a warmed jug or gravy boat and serve alongside the beef.

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