One of my favorite dishes as a child was when my Mom made roast beef, which we had often because they bought halves of beef, or however that is said. I didn’t like the roast beef so much, but I loved the gravy. And even better, when my Mom made Yorkshire Pudding to put the gravy on. Mmmmm… that was carb heaven!
I’m not sure how my German Mom knew how to make such a traditional British dish, but she made it very well. It was always a mystical experience for me to see her whip up a fairly thin batter, pour it into a hot 9×13 pan that had beef juices in it, then watch it puff up in the oven. It was mystery food extraordinaire!
Consulting my trusty Betty Crocker 3-ring binder cookbook years ago, I was thrilled to find a recipe. I was going to impress my P.S. whose family was part English, and they ate a lot of seemingly English food. I found the recipe to be incredibly simple, and prepared it for dinner with our post roast and gravy. I’d also roasted potatoes and carrots with the roast so we were going for carb overkill, but it was the 70s. We hadn’t learned that was evil yet.
Proudly serving the puffed up Yorkshire Pudding and the rest of our roasted dinner to my P.S., he gave me a puzzled look. “What is that?” he asked. I looked at him blankly, not understanding that he had no idea what Yorkshire Pudding was. Apparently it’s one of the English foods his family never embraced or tried. After I explained the dish, and he’d tried it and even had seconds, he understood the gloriousness of the pudding.
I’ve made Yorkshire pudding several times since then, but it’s not a regular thing on our menu. Mostly because I don’t make roast beef very often. I only like a roast when I’m doing a shredded beef in the crockpot and adding Mexican seasonings to the meat for use in tacos and burritos. But I do have a craving once in a blue moon for Yorkshire Pudding, and recently I satisfied that craving.
I sprinkled salt and pepper liberally all over the roast, then seared all sides of it in a skillet on high heat until browned. I like to make sure it’s pretty browned, as it doesn’t brown in the slow cooker later.
I sliced an onion and laid it over the roast in the slow cooker. I added enough water to the pot so that it was about one inch deep. Then I put the lid on and set the temp for high. The roast cooked for about 7 hours on high, and was perfectly done.
Later my P.S. finished the dinner preparations for me. He turned the oven on to 450° F. Draining off some of the juices into a 9”x9” baking pan, he put it into the oven to heat while he mixed the pudding.
He whisked the eggs, then added the rest of the ingredients and whisked until well mixed. He poured the pudding into the hot pan and slipped it back into the oven. He was just pulling it from the oven when I got home from the office. The puddings always look wacky, with bumps and bulges in odd places, but eventually deflate.
We sliced the roast and plated it with the pudding. I made a cornstarch gravy with the remaining beef juices (after I strained out the onions) and ladled it over the Yorkshire pudding then we ate our lovely beef and pudding meal . Comfort food covered with gravy! Like bread, the pudding doesn’t have much flavor; but covered with gravy that has small bits of caramelized beef, and onion flavoring from the drippings, it was divine. Maybe even more so since it is a rare treat for us.
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
adapted from Betty Crocker
3# beef roast
1 large onion, sliced
inch of water
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper liberally. Sear all sides of the roast in a skillet on high until browned. Place in a slow cooker and cover with onions and water to equal an inch in depth. Set on high for 7-8 hours. Remove roast to a serving plate.
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup pan drippings
1/2 teaspoon salt
Measure 1/4 cup of pan drippings. Place hot drippings in 9-inch square pan; place pan in oven and heat until hot.
Increase oven temperature to 450°F.
In medium bowl, beat flour, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the eggs with wire whisk just until smooth. Pour batter into pan of drippings and oil.
Bake 18 to 23 minutes or puffy and golden brown (pudding will puff during baking but will deflate shortly after being removed from oven).
Cut pudding into squares.
Strain or remove onions from the rest of the pan drippings. Place in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Dissolve 2-4 tablespoons cornstarch (depending on how much drippings you have) in 1/4 cup cold water. Slowly whisk into drippings and stir until thickened. Stir for 3 minutes more, then remove from heat.
Slice beef, cut Yorkshire pudding into squares, then cover both with gravy. Serve hot!