Spice Encrusted Roast Beef with Braised Ruby Red Onions & Shallots

(as per Jenny Bristow during demo at St Moluas’ Autumn Evening)
Roasted apples, pears, plums, red onions and figs are good to serve with the above dish. They can either be roasted around the beef or as I prefer, to cook the vegetables separately, cut into chunks with olive oil, garlic, balsamic and honey.

Serves 8-10

25g/1oz juniper berries – crushed
3-4 cinnamon sticks – finely crushed
2-3 dsp peppercorns – finely crushed
2-3 sprigs rosemary – stalks removed
3.2kg/7lb joint of beef – e.g. Chump, Sirloin, Fillet (according to the budget!)
1 dsp olive oil
25g/1oz butter
275ml/½pt red wine or port
275ml/½pt stock
8-10 small red onions-peeled & halved, depending on size 250g/9oz shallots-peeled
25g/9oz butter
25g/1oz soft brown sugar
1 dsp redcurrant jelly
150ml/ 1/4 pt port
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the crust by mixing together the thyme, peppercorns and rosemary. Wipe the beef dry with some kitchen roll and brush with a little olive oil. Roll the beef in the crushed spices until it is well covered. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based frying pan. Brown the meat over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Remove the meat from the heat and place in a well-oiled roasting dish. Cook in the oven @ 200°C/gas mark 6. Allow 12mins, 15mins or 20mins per 450g/1lb depending on whether you like your meat rare, medium or well done.

After 15 minutes cooking, add the wine and stock to the roasting dish. Baste the meat regularly during cooking. When cooked, use the juices in the base of the pan to make a gravy. Serve with oven roasted vegetables;

Blanch the onions and shallots by placing them in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the sugar, onions and shallots and cook over a high heat until lightly browned

Add the redcurrant jelly, port and seasoning and leave to cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the liquid has reduced and thickened