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Roast beef with blackberry & port sauce

Roast beef with blackberry & port sauce

The secret to keeping this topside juicily tender is fragrant bay leaves whizzed up into a verdant green brine. Add a rich, portspiked sauce and you’re in for a real treat – just make sure you have enough left over for Boxing Day sandwiches.

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  • Serves6
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook2 hrs 10 mins
  • Total time2 hrs 30 mins
  • Plusovernight brining + resting

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  • 2kg British beef topside joint (from the meat service counter)
  • 3 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1 pack fresh bay leaves (10 leaves)
  • 2 large Essential Red Onions, trimmed (skin on) and halved widthways
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml ruby port (or rich red wine)
  • 500ml pot fresh beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Essential Redcurrant Jelly
  • 300g frozen blackberries, defrosted


  1. The evening before cooking (or up to 2 days ahead), brine the beef. Whizz the salt and 5 bay leaves in a small food processor, until finely ground to a pale green salt. Put the beef inside a rimmed, non-reactive baking dish and coat evenly with the salt mixture. Cover with foil and chill until ready to cook.

  2. Preheat the oven to 150ºC, gas mark 2. Put the remaining 5 bay leaves in a medium, deep roasting tin with the onions, cut-side down. Wipe off and discard the brine from the beef, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Put on top of the onions and coat with the oil.

  3. Roast for about 2 hours-2 hours 30 minutes, checking with a meat thermometer until cooked to your liking – 50ºC for rare, 55ºC for medium-rare, 60ºC for medium and 70ºC for well-done. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes, loosely covered with foil.

  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Put the roasting tin (with the onions and bay leaves in) on the hob over a high heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to catch. Pour in the port and boil rapidly, scraping the base of the pan as you go, until thickened again. Add the stock and redcurrant jelly, whisking for another 1-2 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve into a medium pan, pressing to extract as much juice as possible (discard the onions and bay). Add any resting juices from the beef plus the blackberries. Simmer briskly for 2-3 minutes, until thickened to your liking and the berries have burst a little; season if needed. Thinly slice the beef and serve with the sauce on the side.

Cook’s tip

Choice cuts

Our Essential Extra Large British Beef Topside Joint (typically 2kg) also works well here. Find it online at waitrose.com and in selected stores.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,289kJ/ 547kcals



Saturated Fat












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