The Northern Soul Christmas Roast Dinner

It’s nearly Christmas – hurrah! To celebrate, Northern Soul‘s Chef Tony has the perfect present for our readers: a step-by-step guide to making a delicious Christmas roast dinner. 

Chef Tony says: “I don’t often talk about the gadgets and gizmos that only a few people have in their kitchens. But we all love a good roast dinner and don’t want to spend hours slaving over a hot stove preparing it. My wife bought me a slow cooker last Christmas that also has a sous vide function (water bath feature). It cost £35 and allows me to produce excellent Sunday (and Christmas) dinners without me having to spend all day in the kitchen. I’ll admit that the temperature on my machine is out by two degrees so I have to compensate by reducing the display temperature. Do Google your machine if you get one.”


Serves 6

For the beef
4/5 bone rib of beef, with the plate and chine bone removed so you can carve it
Beef dripping
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder

2 kg Maris Piper potatoes or other roasting potatoes
Duck fat
Salt and pepper

1 1/2 Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
Knob of butter
125 ml cream
Salt and pepper

Roasted root vegetables

Bury Market Fruit and Veg-4 by Chris PayneBaby carrots (heritage if you can find them)
Baby parsnips
Baby beetroot
Salt and pepper


Cauliflower cheese

Bury Market Fruit and Veg-3 by Chris Payne1 head cauliflower
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon Colman’s dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoon salt
60g butter
60g plain flour
1300 ml milk
200g strong cheddar, grated
200g mild cheddar, grated

Yorkshire puddings
Equal amounts of:
Plain flour
Pinch of salt and pepper


Garlic at Xmas Markets-Chris Payne

750 ml full-bodied red wine
2 onions cut in half
1 bulb of garlic cut in half
750 ml vegetable stock
Bistro gravy granules

Sprouts/kale/cabbage or any green vegetable you’d like

Time-saving tips

The day before, make your Yorkshire Pudding batter mix by whisking the eggs, milk and flour together until incorporated (a few lumps are okay). Add your salt and pepper and leave in the fridge to rest.

Bury Market Cheese-6 by Chris PayneYou can also make your Cheese Sauce ahead of time. Bring your milk to a simmer with the paprika, dry mustard powder and salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook to form a roux. Slowly, add a ladle of milk at a time to the roux making sure to stir all the time until all the milk is used. Mix your cheeses together and add 3/4 to the mix and stir until melted. Cool and refrigerate (unless making on the day).

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook your cauliflower for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water – you still want a bite to the cauliflower as it’s going into the oven to finish.

This step can be left until the day if you want but you can save time by doing it the day before: steam or parboil your potatoes for 20 minutes until soft and almost falling apart. Drain and lay on a tray to cool. Place in the fridge overnight.

On the day of the roast


Pre-heat your oven to 180c.

Pour a few millimetres of oil into your Yorkie tins. Place on a tray and heat in oven for 5 minutes. Then remove the trays and pour in the batter until half full. Return to the oven without shaking and close the door gently. Cook for 26 minutes until risen and firm – they should hold their shape and not collapse once removed from the oven. These will be reheated later. Turn the oven off. 

While your Yorkies are cooking, you can prepare the potatoes or any items you haven’t started the day before.

Herbs-3 by Chris PayneFill your water bath and heat to 55c for medium rare. 

Melt the beef dripping, then add the thyme and rosemary. Don’t take it to hot – remember it’s going in a plastic bag. Tie up your roast if the butcher hasn’t done this for you so it will hold together. Place in your vacuum bag, pour the beef dripping over, and either seal and place in the water bath, or place in slowly letting the weight of the water push the air out causing the bag to sink. Peg up the top so the water can’t get in. Cook until the centre reaches 55c when probed – it should take around 7 hours. But don’t worry, it won’t overcook.

Go out enjoy your day and think about the lovely meal you’ll be coming home to.

An hour before serving, pre-heat oven to 180c

Bury Market Fruit and Veg-5 by Chris PayneRemove the roast potatoes from the fridge; heat up the duck fat in a roasting tray with the garlic and rosemary; put your parboiled potatoes in the tray, add salt and pepper and shake to coat on the fat.

Place your bay carrots, parsnips, and beetroot in a roasting tray with honey and butter. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a heatproof serving dish, place your cauliflower, cover with cheese sauce and top with the reserved cheese.

Place your roast potatoes, root veg and cauliflower cheese in the oven and roast for 30-35 mins. 

While roasting

Start your gravy by browning the onion and garlic cut side-down in a deep pan. You want a deep brown colour.

Add your thyme, rosemary and red wine. Reduce by half, then add your vegetable stock. Reduce again by half.

Strain through a sieve and thicken with gravy granules to your desired thickness. Reserve until ready.

Also start the mash by boiling your potatoes until soft. Drain the water and leave to steam while bringing cream and butter to a boil. Using a potato ricer or masher, mash you potatoes and add to the cream and butter while seasoning with salt and pepper.

Don’t forget to prepare and cook your green vegetables. 

After 30 mins, remove the roast from the water bath and pat dry. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Remove the roasties, cauliflower cheese and root veg from the oven and turn to 250c. 

Place your roast potatoes, mash, root veg and cauliflower cheese in serving dishes and place the rib roast in the oven for 6 mins to create a nice roast crust.

The Northern Soul Sunday LunchReheat the gravy and the yorkies. 

Remove the roast from the oven and serve. 

You can slice between the bones for large, thick steak-like slices or remove the bone and slice like a more traditional roast dinner.

Finally, enjoy!


By Chef Tony


All pictures by Chris Payne except for main image which is by Chef Tony