Rack of beef, roasted

If you have sought and found the butcher of your dreams, you will never be concerned about tough steaks again. The best butchers choose the best cuts from the best cattle; but that’s not the end of it. You can be sure they love their meat and treat it tenderly, with the utmost respect.

You’ll never buy pale fillet from a fair dinkum butcher, never worry about chewy porterhouse, never pay for the fat left on poorly trimmed meat. You will know he is a star when you see lamb and beef looking a little crusty from time exposed to the crisp air of the cool-room. Beef and lamb, and hare as well, if you’re into it, are all greatly enhanced by time on the hook. The flavour develops, especially in the game, and a subtle undercover operation by enzymes in the meat tenderises it remarkably. Beef cuts like porterhouse or rump will need at least ten days — better three weeks — before getting it all together. Lamb needs a week. There is an old tale about hanging hare: when the string breaks, the hare is ready!

I can’t imagine a better dinner party, or Sunday lunch, than the rack of beef, cooked on the bone and sliced at the table. Plead with your butcher.

a 2kg side of beef, including the heavy bones, is plenty for 4 people


black pepper

12 baby carrots


Heat the oven to flat out. Lightly oil a pan which can go to the oven, and, on top of the stove, brown the beef top and bottom. This is to encourage the delicious flavours which come from the browning of the meat. There’s little better than the brilliant flavour of crisp beef, especially when it surrounds a tender, rare middle.


Once you have heated the pan and the meat, sprinkle the lot with salt and grind and grind and grind the black pepper all over the meat. Put the lot in the oven and cook for at least 30 minutes.


While the beef is cooking, cook the carrots until tender (a few minutes in the microwave). When tender, toss the carrots about the beef and put the lot back in the oven.


After 30 minutes, remove the pan and check the beef. It should be well browned, but when pressed it will give easily to the touch. If you wish, slice through to see how it is travelling. It should be still quite rare, but the heat should be making progress. If you think it’s right, leave out of the oven, covered, in the hot pan. Leave for about 20 minutes, while you get the rest of the show organised.


Serve very rare, with each person getting a good portion of the browned outside. Serve with the carrots, now impregnated with much beef juice.


De-glaze the pan with a little red wine, the juices which have flowed from the waiting beef, season, and pour over.

WINE: Claret and roast beef — pillars of the British Empire. Claret was the generic term used to describe the red wines from Bordeaux. In Australia we pinched it to describe any full-bodied, dry-finish red. Bordeaux wines are generally made from a blend of the grape varieties cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Historically, Australian winemakers blended the shiraz grape with the cabernet sauvignon to make the ‘claret’ style.