Ask the butcher to French-trim the beef or, if you feel adventurous, have a go yourself. All you need to do is scrape out the fat and meat from between the protruding bones so that the joint presents more elegantly. You need a very sharp knife for this and you can add the meat to the pan towards the end of cooking so that it helps give even more flavour to the pan juices. It is always best to allow your meat to come to room temperature before you cook it, otherwise the exterior will overcook before the centre is properly done.
The quality of the chips depends enormously on the type of potato used at that particular time of the year. Too much starch and they will colour too quickly; too floury and they will crumble. I find Maris Pipers or King Edwards to be the better options. Its also a good idea to speak to your grocer to see what he or she recommends.
Well ahead, start by pre-cooking the chips: peel the potatoes, cut them into
Melt a knob of the butter with a splash of the oil in a heavy-based roasting pan. Season the meat liberally all over. When the pan is very hot, brown the meat all over until beautifully coloured (this will take time, but the extra flavour is well worth the effort).
When coloured, remove the meat from the pan and discard the spent fats. Add another knob of butter and splash of olive oil with the crushed garlic. Put the beef back in the roasting pan and roast slowly in the preheated oven, basting frequently. Ideally you need to invest in a meat temperature probe for this kind of cooking, as accuracy is crucial. We aim for an internal temperature of 55°C, which takes about 55–60 minutes and produces rare/medium-rare beef.
When cooked, let the meat rest in the pan for about 20 minutes in a warm place. Don’t cover, as this steams the meat and you lose that lovely crisp charred exterior.
While the beef is resting, finish the chips. Heat oil for deep-frying to 180–200°C and pop the potatoes into this carefully. Do not overcrowd the pan or you will reduce the oil temperature too drastically and the result will be greasy chips; if necessary, cook in batches. Fry until golden, about 8–10 minutes. Lift out and douse with salt.
Carve the rested beef into slices (do add extra seasoning as you carve) and serve with the lovely pan juices and the just-cooked chips.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.