The sirloin of beef on the bone is a lovely cut and somewhat easier to carve than the more traditional wing rib. It's another of those cuts of meat that will be best if ordered from your butcher a little in advance, so as to give your butcher time to put aside a piece of properly hung beef. Like most cuts, especially the larger ones, this meat will sit quite happily for at least half an hour after cooking before serving. You can make a simple gravy, which would be lovely, or you can pull out all the stops and make the very grown-up sauce that I am suggesting. This is serious cooking: not difficult, but serious. And when you pull off this sauce, you should clap yourself thunderously on the back. I am recommending a 'roast chicken stock' for the sauce, that is to say, the bones either raw or from a cooked chicken are roasted before being made into a stock. The sauce is also excellent with a roast filet of beef or a grilled steak.

Ingredients

  • 2.5kg sirloin of beef on the bone
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Sauce:
  • 20g butter
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 325ml red wine
  • 2 tblsp port
  • 2 tblsp Grand Marnier
  • 900ml roast chicken stock
  • 2 ripe and firm tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
  • 60g gherkin, cut into 3mm dice
  • 50g of cold and diced butter for enriching the sauce
  • Salt

Method

  • The sirloin of beef, here roasted on the bone, is a 'prime' cut and as a result is expensive. Ideally the meat should have been dry aged in the traditional way and hung for at least 3 weeks.
  • The red wine sauce for the beef can be made ahead, as it is independent of the roasting of the beef. The sauce will keep for several days in the fridge or can be frozen.
  • You need a well-flavoured stock for this sauce, so hence I am suggesting to roast your chicken bones to a deep golden colour before you make your stock.
  • The gherkins should be the small little ones mostly sold as 'cornichons'. Avoid the large ones as they tend to be watery and flabby.
  • The tomatoes should be really ripe and firm to ensure a good flavour and texture.
  • For the beef, Preheat the oven to 240c/475f/gas 9. Lightly score the fat on the surface of the beef and place on a roasting tin.
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven.
  • Roast for 15 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 180c/350f/gas 4 and roast the beef to your liking.
  • When the beef is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest with the oven temperature reduced to 100c 200f gas ¼ for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
  • The sauce is a bit unusual in that we don't season it until the very end of cooking. If you season it early on, the seasoning will become too concentrated as the liquids reduce and intensify in flavour.
  • In a medium-sized, low-sided, heavy saucepan, melt the butter and allow to foam.
  • Add the shallots and coat in the butter. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and the saucepan lid and sweat on a gentle heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add the wine and cook uncovered at a simmer until the wine is almost completely reduced.
  • The contents of the saucepan will look oily, ugly and unlikely and like a red shallot purée by now. That's exactly how it should look now.
  • Add the port and Grand Marnier and reduce by half. Add the stock and continue to cook at a simmer until the stock has reduced or evaporated by two-thirds of its original volume. Strain the shallots from the sauce now through a sieve, pressing the shallots to extract every last drop.
  • Taste the sauce and though it will be still quite thin in consistency it should have lots of flavour, though it won't be dazzaling just yet. That doesn't happen until you add the butter at the end. This is the basic sauce and this is what you can make ahead of time to store in your fridge or freezer.
  • The finishing of the sauce, which takes only a matter of minutes, should be done just as the beef is ready to go to the table.
  • To finish the sauce, bring back to a simmer. Add in the tomato and gherkin and the cold, diced butter.
  • Swirl the contents of the saucepan to incorporate the butter while still just simmering. It is not until this point that the sauce really reveals its magic.
  • The sauce will be thickened slightly by the butter, though not too thick. The consistency should be similar to light pouring cream. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary.
  • Serve hot with the carved sirloin of beef.