Roast beef with lemon and anchovy butter

This impressive joint looks attractive placed on a bed of watercress sprigs. Serve with roast potatoes and vegetables of your choice
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
  • 1 x 1.3kg/3lb lean topside or top rump joint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Watercress and seasonal vegetables, to serve
For the anchovy and lemon butter
  • 100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ x 50g can anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
  • 5 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
For the gravy
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 600ml/1pt hot goodquality beef stock


Preheat the oven to 180°-190°C, 350°-375°F, Gas 4-5.

First make the butter by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef on a chopping board, score the skin, season and spread generously with the anchovy and lemon butter.

Place the joint on a rack in a roasting tin and open-roast for 20 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 20 minutes for rare; 25 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 25 minutes for medium; 3 0 m i n u t e s p e r 450g/1lb plus 30 minutes for well done. Baste occasionally with any meat juices. Cover with foil if browning too quickly.

Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest on a large plate for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the gravy. Spoon off and discard any excess fat from the roasting tin and put the tin over a medium heat . Sprinkle over the flour and stir well with a small whisk or spoon then add a little stock and stir again, scraping the base of the pan to release any sediment.

Add the remaining stock and meat juices from the plate. Adjust the seasoning if required and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced to a well flavoured gravy. Strain before serving.

Arrange the beef on a bed of watercress and serve with roast potatoes and seasonal veg of your choice.