Roast Rib of Beef Stuffed with Smoked Oysters, with Chilled Cucumber Sauce

Although I eat less meat than I used to, a large piece of rare roast beef remains one of my favourite treats. I particularly like this way of roasting it, as the oysters add a mild and irresistible smoky flavour to the meat, it is a simple idea which I thought up years ago but which, combined with the refreshing sauce, I find hard to improve upon.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin smoked oysters
  • large bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 small onion, red-skinned if possible
  • 2.25 kg/5 lb rib of beef on the bone
  • a little olive oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 600 ml/1 pint double cream

Method

Put the oysters in a bowl. Chop the parsley finely. Peel the onion, chop as small as possible and stir into the oysters with the parsley. Season with plenty of black pepper. Make several deep incisions in the joint with a knife and press the oyster mixture right into them. Rub the joint with olive oil and rub the outside fat with sea salt.

Put the meat into a roasting pan and leave for 3-4 hours at room temperature before cooking. Then preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Cook the beef towards the top of the oven, basting once or twice, for 10-12 minutes per pound to give rare meat. Then turn off the heat, open the oven door a little and leave the meat to rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Make the sauce while the beef is cooking. Peel the cucumber, chop finely and put it into a bowl. Add the yoghurt and lemon juice and season with the cayenne pepper and a little salt. Whisk the cream until thick and fold gently into the cucumber mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch more cayenne pepper and keep in the fridge until ready to serve with the beef.

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