roast beef with simple madeira sauce

Making roast beef on a Sunday makes me feel like I’m in a Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks song. It’s like being nostalgic for a time and place I never lived in. All mugs of draft beer and darts tournaments, dropping by to say hello to the vicar, admiring the thatched roof of my house, or whatever people in rural England used to do.

People don’t really do Sunday roasts like they used to, but it’s really a pretty simple thing to do and it makes Sunday dinner feel like more of an event. This roast beef used a simple eye round roast I got from the farmer’s market. The sauce is a simple madeira reduction that had a sweetness, but wasn’t overpowering, and complemented the beef nicely. I thought about doing a real madeira sauce, but once you start dealing with demi-glace and such, you’re signing up for a lot of work. Better to keep it simple.

Roast Beef with Simple Madeira Sauce

1 small (1.5-3 lbs) beef roast
1 cup madeira
3/4 cups stock (beef or chicken)
2 tablespoons butter
3 spring onions, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

For the roast
Rub the roast with salt and pepper. Do this the night before, if possible.

Set the roast out to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

When the oven is up to temperature, place the roast in a small roasting pan or baking dish and put it in the oven. After about 40 minutes, check the temperature and see where you are. The roast should go up another 10 degrees after you pull it, so pull it at 120 for medium-rare or 130 for medium. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the sauce
Over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it’s melted add the spring onions and saute until tender.

Add the madeira, thyme, and bay leaf and turn the heat to medium-high. Let the madeira start to boil off.

When the madeira has reduced by about half, add the stock, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Keep reducing until you have the consistency you want, it should be a little less viscous than molasses. Taste and if it’s too sweet, add a little more vinegar or salt. Serve over the sliced roast beef.


  1. says

    I have a good friend in England whom I’ve visited twice. And both times he’s made me the best damn Sunday roast. It’s such a great tradition. And yes to abstract nostalgia.

  2. says

    And we still do it, every weekend we have a sunday roast – the weekend doesn’t feel right without it. If we can’t be bothered to cook, we tend to go to a pub for a roast these days – if you can find a good traditional pub it is a great way to spend sunday afternoon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *