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What’s cooking today: Roast sirloin of beef



What’s cooking today: Roast sirloin of beef

Roast beef sirloin with rosemary and mustard. The sides are peppered mushrooms and Tony Jackman's Parmesan gem squash. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

When I see beef sirloin, I don’t see steaks. I see a roast. That cap of fat, for me, makes it the best cut to keep intact and roast whole. It makes the most beautiful and delicious crust, especially if you cook it like this...


1 slab of beef sirloin, cleaned and dried (mine weighed 1.2kg)

Rosemary sprigs

Rosemary salt (or plain salt)

Ground black pepper

Mustard powder

3 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp ghee/ clarified butter

2 carrots

1 celery stick

2 medium onions

2 bay leaves

A few black peppercorns


Ask your butcher to cut you a nice big slab of beef sirloin and to leave the fat cap intact. I chose the thicker part of the sirloin.

Start the evening before you want to cook it. Salt the sirloin on all sides generously with rosemary salt (or plain salt or an aromatic salt of your choice). Place it in the fridge overnight, uncovered. (If you haven’t made your own rosemary salt yet, please make some; it’s so easy. I use it all the time; it is such a great condiment to have to hand.)

Bring the sirloin to room temperature for a few hours. I leave it out of the fridge for half a day. It will have bled a bit while in the fridge, so pat it dry.

Chop 2 carrots, 1 celery stick and 2 medium onions and place them in the centre of an oiled heavy oven dish with a few peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and a few rosemary sprigs.

Heat equal quantities of olive oil and butter or ghee in a roasting pan on the hob and brown the skin side of the joint really well, 4 or 5 minutes. Turn to brown all other sides for a minute or so each.

Season with black pepper all over and sprinkle mustard powder on all sides. Season with more rosemary salt, being generous on the fat side (the skin is great well salted).

Place on top of the vegetables and roast for 20 minutes at 230℃ then turn down to 180℃ and roast for 12 to 15 minutes per 500 g, so my 1.2 kg joint needed about 30 to 35 minutes more. Then allow 20 minutes’ resting time.

Reduce these times a little for a fan oven. As you may know by now, I use a gas oven.

Once you have removed the cooked sirloin to rest on another plate, put the pan back on the hob and pour some cold water over the vegetables; not too much. (You’re looking for just enough sauce to serve with your beef.) Reduce on a high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the pan juices have become a delicious sauce and thickened a little by reduction. Strain into a pouring jug and discard the vegetables. Served with peppered button mushrooms and Parmesan gem squash. (You could of course add wine instead of water, but right now some of us are saving our wine for other purposes.) DM/TGIFood 

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected] 

SUBSCRIBE: Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.


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All Comments 2

  • I think Tony’s posts should come with a warning… DO NOT OPEN IF YOU ARE HUNGRY… Otherwise all I do for the rest of the day is fantasise about food.
    Have tried a few of his recipes and they are awesome!!

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