Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Prime Ribs Dinner

Perfect Prime Ribs
Prime rib” refers to the standing rib roast; “standing” because to cook it, you simply position the roast on its rib bones in the roasting pan—no need for a rack. When you order a “prime” rib, it doesn’t mean that you are getting USDA Prime. Most “prime ribs” we get from butcher are actually “USDA Choice” quality, which makes for a very nice meal. If “USDA Prime” Prime Rib is within your budget, however, go for it. It can cost up to 50 percent more; it is the absolute superior grade (top 2 percent) of beef, generally reserved for top restaurants. There is a real difference in tenderness and flavor, and it will make the meal truly memorable for beef lovers.
A standing rib roast will serve anywhere from 6 to14 people. Each rib will feed two people, and you must cook at least three ribs for it to be a Standing Rib Roast. (Less is just a very thick steak.) It is best to use a meat thermometer, inserted at the center of the meat, not too close to the bone.


1 standing beef rib roast (4 to 7 ribs; 9 to 18 pounds)
Softened butter (½ tablespoon per bone)
Salt (½ teaspoon per bone)
Fresh, coarsely ground black pepper, as needed
½ cup sliced shallots
1 quart cold beef broth
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons flour


Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator. Use a paper towel to pat the roast dry, and place it in a heavy metal roasting pan with 3-inch sides, bone side down. Rub the entire surface of the cold roast with butter and coat evenly with the salt and black pepper. Leave the prime rib out at room temperature for two hours.
Preheat the oven to 450° F. When the oven is hot, put the roast in and cook for 20 minutes to sear the outside of the roast. After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 325° F. Roast for 30 minutes. Add shallots to the pan, scattered around the roast, allowing the juices of the roast to drip on them. After a few minutes, when they begin to caramelize, add ½ cup of the beef broth and scrape. Continue to roast for a total of 15-20 minutes per pound (including the first half hour) or until internal temperature is 110° F for rare, 120° F for medium rare, 130° F for medium and 140° F for medium-well. The roast will increase its temperature by about 10° F during its resting period. Transfer to a large platter and let the prime rib rest, loosely covered with foil, for 30 minutes before serving. Cutting into the meat too early will cause a significant loss of juice.

Total roasting time
per pound
Internal temperature
15 minutes
110° F
17 minutes
120° F
19 minutes
130° F
Medium -Well
21 minutes
140° F

To make the "Au Jus" sauce
While the prime rib is resting, place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the ½ cup of red wine and reduce the liquid to about half. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for five minutes to form a roux. Pour in the rest of the beef broth and whisk into the roux, scraping all the caramelized beef drippings and shallots from the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to high and cook the sauce for ten minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly. Serve in a gravy boat alongside the prime rib.

Carving the well-rested roast:
Use a sharp knife to cut the meat off the bones by making one cut across the bottom of the roast to detach the chine bone and running the sharp edge of the knife parallel along the rib bones, to cut off the entire rib section in one piece. Place boneless portion of the prime rib roast on the cutting board with the rib bone side down. Cut slices across the grain of the roast to desired thickness. Slices are cut ¼-inch to ½-inch thick.

Yorkshire Pudding
A traditional side dish for Prime Rib is Yorkshire Pudding, a puffy, popover-like pastry that the English have contributed to culinary excellence.
Ingredients (all at room temperature)
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 large egg

1 tablespoon drippings

One hour before the meat is ready to be removed from the oven, mix the milk and water together. Sift flour with salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the unbeaten egg and half of the liquid. Stir slowly, gradually drawing the flour into the liquid. Add half of the remaining liquid and beat well. Stir in the rest of the liquid and allow to rest at room temperature.
When you remove the beef from the oven, turn the temperature back up to 400° F. Coat a pie plate with a tablespoon of drippings from the roast (tilting the pan and turning it so the drippings coat the bottom and sides well). Pour the batter into the pie plate and bake in the hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes. (Do not open the oven door during cooking, or the popover will fall.) It will rise to a light, fluffy consistency. Serve immediately, and enjoy the crispy outer edges and the custardlike inside.

Parsley Potatoes
18 small Red or Yukon Gold potatoes
½ cup fresh parsley
½ stick butter
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse potatoes and cut off any unsightly parts. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until they are still firm but a fork can pierce them. Drain. Peel and slice each potato in half. Place parsley, butter, garlic, and potatoes in a saucepan over medium heat, and combine well. Cover and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sautéed Mushrooms


2 pounds mixed mushrooms
½ cup good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (4 shallots)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Wipe the cap of each mushroom with a clean sponge. Remove and discard the stems. Slice the small mushrooms thickly; cut the big ones in large dice. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for five minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the butter, mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for eight minutes, until they are tender and begin to release their juices, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Toss in the parsley, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

Horseradish Cream


½ cup crème fraîche or use half sour cream and half heavy cream, mixed
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice


In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Timing Tips
I chose these particular side dishes because they are delicious, go well with the roast, are not time sensitive, do not require the oven, and can be mostly prepped in advance so they do not monopolize you at the last minute, when you need to be working with the roast. The following can be prepped hours before you start cooking the roast.
Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding: Take out the beef and the egg and milk from the refrigerator to allow them to reach room temperature.
Parsley Potatoes: Wash and boil the potatoes. Once they have cooled, peel and halve them and place them in a Tupperware container or bowl. Do not refrigerate. Chop the parsley and shallots and leave in small cups until required. While roast is out of the oven and the Yorkshire Pudding is rising, you can finish off the potatoes and leave covered until ready to serve.
Sautéed Mushrooms: You can prepare the mushrooms hours in advance up until the point of adding the garlic. Instead add a tablespoon of lemon juice, toss, and allow to rest, covered, until almost ready to serve. Then stir in the garlic and cook for two more minutes. Toss in the parsley, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve warm.
Horseradish Sauce:  The sauce can be made early in the day and refrigerated. It is served cold or room temperature.

Recipe: Christmas Goose Dinner

Goose is one of my most favorite festive dishes. You will hear people complain that it is “too fatty,” probably because they have never had goose prepared correctly. This recipe will give you moist, succulent dark meat without the excess fat or fatty flavor. It is not difficult, but you must start a couple of days before roasting.  Also, a goose should be stuffed with a bread, potato or rice stuffing that will absorb some of the delicious fat from the inside of the bird. Do not use a sausage stuffing, or it will add to the fattiness. I am including a recipe for wild rice stuffing, which I personally like. Goose goes particularly well with tart fruit flavors to complement its richness, so I have included suggestions and recipes for accompaniments for the roasted goose. Next week: recipes for Prime Ribs of Beef Dinner.

Roast Goose with Wild Rice Stuffing
One fresh goose, 8–10 pounds for 5–6 people, or 11–12 pounds for 7–8 people; if the goose is frozen, it should be defrosted slowly in the refrigerator for two full days and then brought to room temperature for a few hours before starting this process.
6 cups chicken stock
1 onion
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery
Sprig of parsley
Bay leaf
1 cup wild rice
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Juice of ½ lemon
⅔ cup wine
From 24 to 48 hours before roasting, fill two-thirds of a pot large enough to hold the goose with water and bring to a boil. While water is heating up, remove the neck and giblets and set aside to make the stock and gravy. Trim excess fat from inside the body cavity, slice off the wide belly flaps covering the body cavity, and remove the fatty tail. (For the ambitious, this fat can go into a pot with a little water (about ½ cup) and be put over low heat to render out and make goose fat for frying potatoes— better than butter or oil.)
You still need to give the fat underneath the goose’s skin somewhere to go; if you don’t, the skin will never fully crisp up and the fat will stay in the meat. The best way to do this is to prick the skin with a clean, sharp sewing needle (or paring knife) from an angle, so that you are not piercing the flesh of the goose, just the skin. Do this all over the goose.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, submerge the goose, neck side down, for one minute, until goose bumps (yes, that is where that expression comes from) appear on the goose. Turn it tail side down, and repeat the process. Remove goose from the pot, and drain. Place, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Set it in the refrigerator, uncovered, to dry the skin for 24 to 48 hours.
Early on the day of roasting, make the stock and the stuffing. For the goose stock, cut up the giblets (but not the liver) and place them in 2 cups of the chicken stock, along with one sliced onion, one sliced carrot, one stalk of celery, salt, pepper, a sprig of parsley, and a bay leaf. Bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
For the stuffing, simmer the rice in a covered pot with the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock for 40–45 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. (If the rice is fully cooked before all of the liquid is absorbed, uncover the pan and boil until the liquid has evaporated.) In a small pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallots until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 23 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated. Add the lemon juice and stir the mushroom mix into the rice, seasoning with salt and pepper. Allow to cool, but do not refrigerate.
Remove goose from the refrigerator two hours before roasting. 
Preheat oven to 375°F.
When the bird reaches room temperature, stuff it. Seal cavities by sewing skin together with a clean needle and thread or using a special skewer and thread bought for the purpose. Draw the thighs close to one another and tie together with kitchen twine. Rub salt and pepper all over the skin. Place the bird on its side on a rack in a roasting pan, and place in the oven. In 15 minutes turn the bird on its other side and baste with some of the stock. After another 15 minutes, turn the bird on its back, breast side up, baste and continue roasting. After a total of 45 minutes of roasting, turn the oven temperature down to 350°F and continue roasting until the bird has roasted 15 minutes per pound, or until its internal temperature, when tested with a meat thermometer, has reached a minimum of 180 degrees.
When done, transfer the goose to a carving board; remove trussing, string, or skewer and cover with aluminum foil, loosely tented over it, allowing the bird to rest before carving.
To make gravy, pour off most of the fat from original roasting pan and place it over two burners. Mix in the ⅔ cup of wine and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour a cup of giblet broth over the drippings and reduce to make a gravy.

Braised Red Cabbage
1 head red cabbage, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced
2 apples, pared, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon flour
I encourage you to cook this the day before. It is even better heated up, and not having to worry about this will reduce the pressure on the day you are cooking everything else.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the cabbage for one minute and drain. The cabbage will turn a deep violet color, but it will come back to its natural color later in the process, when the vinegar is added. In a flameproof casserole (large enough to later add the cabbage), melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and fry the onion until soft but not browned.  Add the apples, stir, and cook for 2–3 minutes. Remove apple-onion mixture from the pot. Add layers of cabbage and apple mixture, sprinkling each layer with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover with buttered brown or parchment paper or aluminum foil and then the pot’s cover. Place in the oven and allow to braise until cabbage is soft, usually 1½–2 hours. Stir cabbage occasionally, adding ¼ cup of water if dry. Allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge a few hours before reheating. While the goose is roasting, reheat cabbage on the stove, stirring and adding a tablespoon or two of water to avoid it being totally dry. Then take the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and knead it with the flour. Stir into the cabbage, a little at a time, to thicken the juices while reheating. Add salt and pepper.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes or Yams
This is especially nice because it can be prepared in advance and finished in the oven while the goose is resting.

8 sweet potatoes of about the same size, peeled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup honey
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for 20–30 minutes, depending upon size, until potatoes are soft but still intact. Drain, allow to cool and slice. Butter a flat baking dish and arrange the slices of cooked sweet potatoes, tightly overlapping, to fill the dish.with one layer. Spoon over the lemon juice, honey.and nuts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dot with butter. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Apple Sauce
This sauce can be made the day before and refrigerated. It may be served cold or at room temperature, or heated up and served warm. You decide.
8 apples (I like to mix up the varieties)
1 pear
Pare, core and slice the fruit. Place in a saucepan and add enough water to cover about half of the fruit. Cook over medium heat, watching to see if too much water evaporates—in which case, just add more. Do not allow fruit to brown. When the fruit gets pulpy and begins to fall apart, mash and mix with a wooden spoon. You may leave this a bit chunky or strain if needed to make it smooth.