When I think of serving a special occasion meal, in particular one during the holidays, Prime Rib is at the top of my list. It is elegant, easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of work or last minute preparations.
Every year my father-in-law roasts a large beef rib roast for the family Christmas dinner. When we walk in the house we are instantly enveloped with the mouth-watering aromas of roasting beef. Yum!
A standing rib roast may seem hard to make, but it is probably the easiest of all the party entrees to make. It can be as simple as seasoning the roast with salt and pepper or you can go all out and make a complicated rub and crust. I like something in between, with all the flavor but not all the work. The only equipment you need is a roasting pan and an instant-read thermometer. There is no need for a rack because you stand the beef on the ribs raising it off the pan and allowing the heat to reach all sides at the same time.
I have included two recipes for slightly different versions of a horseradish sauce. The first is made with whipping cream and the second with sour cream. Make the one that suits your personal tastes. If you like sour cream on your baked potatoes, try this version – it will wake up your taste buds!
And finally, Bearnaise sauce, a variation on Hollandaise that is artery-clogging but oh so good. It is hollandaise with shallots and tarragon. It was my father’s favorite sauce with beef and the one he always requested for his birthday. Today’s recipe utilizes a blender, which makes this a snap to make. Definitely worth the effort, this sauce is likely to become one of your favorites, just like my dad.
Prime Rib Roast with Pan Gravy
Simply Recipes.com (with a few notes from me)
Yield: 2 servings per rib
1 standing rib roast, 3 to 7 ribs (estimate serving 2 people per rib), bones cut away from the roast and tied back to the roast with kitchen string (ask your butcher to prepare the roast this way)
Freshly ground black pepper
Simple Dry Rub, optional (recipe follows)
Remove roast from the refrigerator, loosely wrapped, 3 hours before cooking. Roasts should always be brought close to room temperature first, before they go in the oven. (This helps them cook more evenly.)
Cookbooks often call for the excess fat to be removed. By “excess” fat they mean any fat more than an inch thick. The fat is what provides the flavor and what you are paying for with prime rib, so you want to leave it on. Your butcher should have removed any excess fat.
If your butcher hasn’t already done so, cut the bones away from the roast and tie them back on to the roast with kitchen string. This will make it much easier to carve the roast, while still allowing you to stand the roast on the rib bones while cooking.
Preheat your oven to 500°F, or the highest it will go (our oven only goes up to 450°F). Generously sprinkle salt and pepper all over the roast. Alternately, you can replace the salt and pepper with a dry rub (such as the one below) of your choice.
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, making sure it doesn’t touch a bone. (Some meat thermometers require that you poke a hole first with a skewer, and then insert the thermometer.) Place the roast, fat side up, rib side down in a roasting pan in the oven.
After 15 minutes on 500°F, reduce the heat to 325°F. To figure out the total cooking time, allow about 13 to 15 minutes per pound for rare and 15 to 17 minutes per pound for medium rare. The actual cooking time will depend on the shape of the roast and your particular oven. A flatter roast will cook more quickly than a thicker one. So make sure to use a meat thermometer. This is not a roast to “wing it”. Err on the rare side.
Roast in oven until thermometer registers 115°F to 120°F for rare, or 125°F to 130°F for medium.
Check the temperature of the roast using a meat thermometer a half hour before you expect the roast to be done. For example, with a 10 pound roast, you would expect 2-1/2 hours of total cooking time (15 minutes at 500°F and 2-1/4 hours at 325°F). In this case, check after 2 hours of total cooking time, or 1-3/4 hours after you lowered the oven temp to 325°F.
Once the roast has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from oven and let rest 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil, before carving. The roast will continue to cook while it is resting.
With a knife or scissors, cut the strings, which attach the meat to the bones. Remove the bones (save for making stock for soup. Then, using a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain for serving, making the slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Making Pan Gravy: To make the gravy, remove the roast from the pan. Place pan on stove over medium high heat. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings to a separate container. Into the 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir with a wire whisk until the flour has thickened and the roux is smooth. Continue to cook slowly and stir constantly. Slowly add back the previously removed drippings (remove some of the fat beforehand if there is a lot of fat). In addition add your choice of water, milk, stock, cream or beer to the gravy, enough to make 1 cup. Season the gravy with salt and pepper and herbs.
Simple Dry Rub
Jane Evans Bonacci – The Heritage Cook © 2008
Yield: about 1 cup
1/2 cup sweet paprika
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
3 tbsp dry thyme leaves
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until evenly distributed. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Yield: 6 servings
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and milk until light and foamy. Stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
Pour the drippings into a 9-inch pie pan, cast iron skillet, or square baking dish. Put the pan in oven and get the drippings smoking hot. Carefully take the pan out of the oven and pour in the batter. Put the pan back in oven and cook until puffed and dry, 15 to 20 minutes.
Horseradish Cream Sauce
From Whole Foods
Yield: about 1-1/4 cups
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tbsp prepared white horseradish
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly minced chives
Beat the heavy cream until stiff. Slowly add the horseradish and lemon juice and continue to beat together. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Garnish top with chives. Serve with roasted beef.
Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce
From What’s Cooking America
Yield: about 2-1/2 cups
1/4 to 1/2 cup prepared horseradish, or to your taste
2 cups sour cream
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Will hold in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
Recipe from “MEAT by the Lobels”
Yield: approximately 3/4 cup
2 tbsp shallots, minced
1 tbsp tarragon vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
5 egg yolks
1-1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp dry mustard
3/4 cup butter, melted
Pinch cayenne pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Simmer the shallots in vinegar and white wine until liquid has been reduced by about two-thirds. Remove from heat and cool.
Place this mixture in blender and add egg yolks, tarragon, peppercorns, salt, and dry mustard. Blend at high speed for no more than 10 seconds.
Add the warm melted butter, cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional). Quickly turn on blender again and let it rotate until sauce thickens. Should it become too thick, add a bit of hot water and blend again.
This sauce should be made at the last minute so that it will be warm when served (but it may be kept warm in a double boiler).