Pepper Crusted Hereford Ribs

A Christmas centre-piece rib of beef coated in crushed peppercorns served with mulled wine gravy.

Serves: 10

Cooking Time: 1 hour 40 minutes (for 3lb rib)


  • 1 x 2.7kg/6lb lean fore rib of beef, French-trimmed, boneless rib of beef, sirloin or topside joint
  • 6 medium sized red onions, peeled and quartered
  • Salt
  • For the pepper crust:
  • 10ml/2tsp whole allspice berries, crushed
  • 30ml/2tbsp pink peppercorns, optional, lightly crushed
  • 30ml/2tbsp green or black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 25g/1oz Demerara sugar
  • 15ml/1tbsp English mustard powder
  • For the mulled wine gravy:
  • 15ml/1tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml/½pint mulled wine
  • 300ml/½pint good, hot beef stock


  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C, 350-375°F.
  • To prepare the pepper crust, in a small bowl mix all the ingredients together to form a paste.
  • Place the joint on a chopping board, season with the salt and coat on both sides with the pepper crust. Place the joint on a rack in a roasting tin and open roast for the preferred, calculated cooking time. Cover the bones with foil if browning too quickly.
  • 40 minutes before the end of the cooking time remove the joint from the rack and add the onions. Position the joint on top of the onions and return to the oven.
  • Remove the beef from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy: Spoon off any excess fat from the roasting tin and discard. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour. Stir well with a small whisk or spoon, add a little stock and stir again, scraping the base of the pan to release any rich, beefy sediment.
  • Add the remaining stock, mulled wine and any meat juices from the platter, adjust the seasoning, if required and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until reduced to a well-flavoured gravy. Strain before serving.
  • Garnish the beef with fresh bay leaves and serve with seasonal vegetables and the mulled wine gravy.