"Dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" Christmas dinner: roast beef, gravy and Yorkshire pudding

For some folks, holiday plans include a roast beef dinner – along with Yorkshire pudding — for Christmas. If you are not quite sure what Yorkshire pudding is, you may be surprised to learn it is not something eaten for dessert, but rather a side dish to go along with the roast and served with gravy. Yorkshire pudding, a puffy batter pudding that is traditionally baked in a shallow pan containing a layer of hot beef drippings, can also be baked as individual “popovers,” and as anyone who has ever baked popovers know, they can’t be held, or be made in advance. It may seem mad to incorporate anything into a holiday meal that must be immediately dashed from the oven to the table, but Yorkshire pudding is so sublime with roast beef, it would probably be less disappointing to skip the beef than to skip the pudding. If you don’t intend to eat roast beef during the holidays, but would still like to bake popovers, take heart. They can readily be made with butter instead of beef drippings. This might also be a good time to re-visit the recipe for Ellen Ecker Ogden’s Parmesan Herb Popovers from Ogden’s 2011 “The Complete Kitchen Garden: An Inspired Collection of Garden Designs & 100 Seasonal Recipes,” as good a popover recipe as you could hope for, containing Parmesan cheese, rosemary and parsley. This is the season for going slightly wild in the kitchen and Christmas dinner the perfect time to do it.

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Yorkshire Pudding "Popovers"

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups milk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon roast beef drippings from pan used to cook roast (if drippings are not available, use unsalted melted butter)

Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin or popover pan with non-stick cooking spray. (If using a non-stick popover pan, do not over-grease pan, or popovers will not rise properly.) Place greased pan in oven while preparing batter. Place flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and eggs and beat with a rotary beater for three minutes. Add roast beef drippings (or melted butter); stir to mix. Remove hot pan from oven and carefully divide batter among the muffin or popover cups. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and cut a small slit into the top of the popovers to allow steam to escape. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Turn oven off and allow popovers to remain in oven another 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 12 muffin-size popovers, or 6 large popovers.

Parmesan Herb Popovers

Recipe courtesy "The Complete Kitchen Garden: An Inspired Collection of Garden Designs & 100 Seasonal Recipes," by Ellen Ecker ogden; Stewart, Tabori & Chang (www.abramsbooks.com), publishers.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt*

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper*

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

3 large eggs (room temperature)

1 cup whole milk (room temperature)

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dot each of six popover cups with ½ tablespoon butter and place in the hot oven to preheat while you mix the batter. In a small bowl, blend the flour, salt, pepper, rosemary and parsley. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, add the milk and cheese, then fold in the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Once the popovers cups are heated and the butter is thoroughly melted, remove the cups from the oven and divide the batter evenly into each cup. Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the popovers are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Makes 6 popovers. *Kitchen Ade Note: I found ¼ teaspoon salt and a scant 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper sufficient for this recipe.

How to purchase and cook roast beef

Choose a high grade of beef for roasting. Cuts such as tenderloin, rib, sirloin, sirloin-tip or rump are excellent choices. If you feel confused by the many names and grades by which roast beef is labeled, ask the butcher in the store where you shop for help. When buying boneless meat, allow three servings per pound; with bone, two servings per pound.


• Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

• Place meat, directly from refrigerator, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

• Place a constant-read, oven-safe thermometer into the center of the roast, away from fat and bone.

• Season roast with salt and pepper and place in oven.

• Remove roast from oven when thermometer reads:

135 degrees for medium rare*

150 degrees for medium*

These temperatures do not reflect the “standing time,” when beef will continue to “cook” anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees after it is removed from the oven. *To view a complete beef roasting guide from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association visit www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/CMDocs/BIWFD/Roasting_Guidelines.pdf.

• Allow roast to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing (This will give the juices time to set up making your roast easier to carve.

• Save drippings for making gravy and Yorkshire pudding.

Note: For safety, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA) recommends beef roasts be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees with a rest time of 3 minutes.


Beef Gravy

To make good beef gravy, you’ll need some drippings and the little bits of meat that are stuck to the bottom of the pan in which you cooked your roast. If your pan is stovetop safe, make the gravy right in the roasting pan, otherwise pour the drippings, including the scrapings, into a saucepan.


4 tablespoons beef drippings (If you do not have enough drippings, add some melted unsalted butter to the pan.)

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 (10-ounce) cans Campbell’s beef consommé

¼ cup Madeira wine

¼ teaspoon leaf thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Pour all but 4 tablespoons of the beef drippings out of the roasting pan. (If you do not have enough drippings in the pan, add some melted unsalted butter to the pan. Place roasting pan on top of the stove, heating over medium heat. Stir flour into the hot fat and cook at least five minutes, scraping up any bits of meat that remain on the bottom of the pan. Add broth and wine, whisking constantly until thickened. Lower heat to a simmer, stirring in thyme, salt and pepper. (If mixture is too thick, thin with a bit of water until mixture is of desired consistency.) Stir in parsley, cooking about 1 minute more. Makes about 2 cups.