Top Side of Beef with Carrots and Thyme
Topside comes from the inner muscle of the thigh, a lean cut, more tender than silverside and often nick-named – Poor Man’s sirloin. It makes a delicious thrifty roast, cook it no higher than 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 or stew it slowly to melting tenderness with lots of root vegetables to absorb the rich flavour.
1kg(2 1/4lb) top side of beef
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
8 young carrots (cut them into large chunks if bigger)
2 celery stalks, chopped
150ml(5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) red wine
300ml(10fl oz/1 1/4 cups)) homemade beef stock
1/2 tin of tomatoes (200g) and juice, chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
500g(18oz) baby onions or quartered large ones
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark/Gas Mark 3.
Rub the surface of the meat with a cut clove of garlic. Score the fat. Drizzle the beef with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Heat a pan on a high flame, sear the surface until nicely browned. Transfer to a casserole. Add the whole or quartered onions, carrots and celery to the pan, toss around until they begin to colour, add to the casserole.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, allow to bubble for 3 or 4 minutes or until the caramelised juices have dissolved into the wine. Pour over the meat and vegetables in the casserole, add the stock and chopped tomato and juices to the pan. Season well with salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar. Add the thyme and bay. Bring to the boil. Cover, transfer to the preheated oven and cook gently for 1 3/4 – 2 hours. Turn the joint over half way through cooking.
Remove the meat to a carving dish (remove string if necessary). Lift out the vegetables, keep warm.
Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard. Taste the gravy, correct the seasoning, it should be rich and flavourful. Carve the beef onto a large platter, spoon the hot juices over the meat. Garnish with the vegetables and lots and lots of coarsely snipped fresh parsley.
A big pot of Colcannon or Champ would be a super delicious accompaniment.