The ultimate Christmas roast beef

James Martin ditches the Christmas turkey in favour of a foolproof step-by-step recipe to cook roast beef recipe with all the trimmings. Use our roasting calculator to work out exact roast beef cooking times and temperatures.


For the Yorkshire puddings

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • 600ml/20fl oz milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vegetables

  • 1 cauliflower, into large florets
  • 300g/10½oz French beans, trimmed
  • 1 broccoli, into large florets
  • 8 carrots, peeled and into batons

For the roast beef

  • 2.75kg/6lb 2oz whole beef sirloin and sinew trimmed
  • 250g/9oz beef dripping or lard

For the gravy

  • 200ml/7fl oz
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints beef stock

For the roast potatoes

  • 2kg/4lb 8oz large floury potatoes such as King Edward, each peeled and cut into 2 or 3 pieces

For the Brussels sprouts

  • 200g/7oz streaky bacon slices into lardons
  • 500g/1lb 2oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and finely shredded
  • 250g/9oz cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 175g/6oz butter


  1. First prepare the Yorkshire pudding batter. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, then whisk in the eggs one at a time, bringing in the flour from the insides of the well as you do so.
  2. Gradually whisk in the milk until the batter is smooth and well combined. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the bowl and chill in the fridge overnight.
  3. You can also prepare the vegetables a day in advance. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Prepare a large bowl of iced water. Add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water and boil for 4-5 minutes, or until perfectly tender. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and plunge into the bowl of iced water. Set aside until the florets have cooled (this will prevent them from continuing to cook). Drain, transfer to a roasting tray and set aside.
  4. Repeat the process with the French beans, simmering them for just 2-3 minutes. Add the drained, cooled beans to the tray.
  5. Repeat the process with the broccoli florets, simmering them for 1-2 minutes. Add the drained, cooled broccoli to the tray.
  6. Repeat the process with the carrot batons, simmering them for 6-7 minutes. Add the drained, cooled carrot to the tray.
  7. This will ensure you have all the vegetables prepared and perfectly cooked ready to reheat on the day. Chill all of the vegetables, covered, in the roasting tray (or in a re-sealable food bag or plastic container) until needed.
  8. On Christmas Day, prepare the beef. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
  9. Score of the beef in a criss-cross pattern using a sharp, then season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  10. Heat a frying pan over a high heat. When the pan is very hot, add 25g/1oz of the beef dripping and, when it has melted, fry the beef on all sides until browned all over.
  11. Place the beef joint, side facing downwards, into a roasting tray and roast for 45-50 minutes (for medium-rare) or longer until cooked to your liking – although bear in mind that the meat will continue to cook as it rests. Turn the beef joint halfway through the cooking time. When the beef is cooked to your liking, transfer it to a large plate, cover with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile for the gravy, return the frying pan containing the meat juices to a medium heat and, when it is hot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to simmer until the volume has reduced by half.
  13. Add the beef stock and return the mixture to a simmer, simmering until the volume of liquid has reduced by one-third, then season with salt and pepper. Strain the gravy into a jug or gravy boat. Cover and keep warm until needed (you may need to reheat it before serving).
  14. Next, make the roast potatoes. Place the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the water is simmering and simmer the potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Drain the potatoes using a colander and shake them around a little in the colander to roughen the edges. Set aside.
  15. When the beef has only 35 minutes left to cook, put 100g/3½oz of the remaining beef dripping or lard into a deep-sided roasting tray. Heat the fat in the oven for 5 minutes, or until hot.