OK, so this year, Christmas is one day off for me, a couple for M. That said, it happens to be one day off together with a fantastic built in excuse to make great food!
For my family, the traditional Christmas dinner is a set piece: Eye of the Round, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussels Sprouts, and mashed spuds. Call it decadent, call it over the top, but definitely call it!
We’ll just lightly go over the easy stuff and focus where folks seem to have the hardest time, and that’s with Yorkshire Pudding. If you’re one of those who’s had a less than stellar try at this wonderful dish, don’t feel bad; for something so simple, it can be a real bear to make! OK, onward…
A nice eye of the round is a lovely, relatively cheap cut of roast. You can find this for around $3 a pound and it’ll be well worth your while. There’s a temptation to add fat to this cut because it’s so lean, but I caution you not to. Find one with a decent little fat cap and call yourself lucky. I season with salt, pepper and olice oil and nothing else. You can sear it off in a hot pan if you wish to and plunk that bad boy into a 350 F oven with a thermometer on board, (Note this little 2+ pounder had a nice fat cap, so I did not sear, just rubbed oil, salt and pepper into it and sent it to the oven…) We take this up to 145 F internal temp and then pull it, cover it and leave it alone for a good 10 to 15 minutes; it’ll come up to a perfect medium rare and keep all its juices that way.
The smell of that beast cooking all by its lonesome is pretty spectacular, indeed!
M preps the sprouts, which get steamed with butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice – Nothing more need apply, (The little bowl of pepperoncini and Nicoise olives were cook munchies only!)
Spuds got steamed, mashed and done up with butter, cream, salt and pepper – No, I am not screwing around…
M made crazy good gravy with pan drippings, beef stock and not much else –
It was un-be-lievable!
OK, so Yorkshire Pudding here we come!
Here’s the drill. Use exactly what I’m showing you here and do the procedure exactly as outlined – No shortcuts!
Have everything at room temp before you start; no BS, honest room temp, all around!
All you need is:
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk
1 Cup Water
That’s it! Combine the flour and salt well, then make a well in the middle and pour in the water and milk. With a whisk, combine everything until smooth and uniform.
Add the eggs, switch to a hand blender or mixer and start a mixin’! You want to mix for a good 5 minutes on a low setting, until you get roughly 1/2″ bubbles forming in the mix. Once you do, stop, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour, and 90 minutes is better yet.
Keep in mind, it’s all about temperature and incorporation; anything less than complete attention to details
After you’ve chilled your batter, bring it out and back up to room temp, (Honestly, no cheatin’ in method or temp – It takes time, so plan accordingly!)
Toss 2 or 3 ounces of unsalted butter into a straight sided dish: A souffle pan is perfect, of course, and you want one sized such that your batter will be about 3/4″ thick in the bottom when first poured in.
Put the dish into a 400 oven until the butter and dish are sizzling hot. Pour your batter right in and throw the whole thing back into the hot oven.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F, and 15 more at 350 F – As with Popovers, souffles, etc, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR, period, end of story, (Yes, it really matters!).
And if you do all that faithfully, why then, viola, you got Yorkshire!
Have everything set so that you can plate and serve immediately, ’cause the pudding don’t wait well for others…
And there ya go, Bon Appetite and Feliz Navidad!
Oh, gosh, where are my manners?
Desert, you ask? Of course! We cheated and bought a nice little, locally made cheesecake, for which M whipped up a compote with blueberries, Agave nectar, butter and Cointreau – Outta this world good, if you still have room!
We wish you all happy, healthy, safe holidays and a joyous New Year!