Monday, December 26, 2011

Prime Rib Recipe - My thoughts on Christmas Dinner

For many years we celebrated Christmas dinner with a traditional roasted turkey, but most recently we have deviated from that segment of tradition by enjoying our Christmas Dinner of Roast Prime Rib.

Through the years spent in the food industry, I have witnessed in numerous research & development laboratories, attempts to shorten cooking time, injected compounds to enhance the flavor of the meat and other means of tenderizing and basically changing the structural composition of the Roast. Of course, being young and brave and enjoying the element of “change”, I enthusiastically joined in on the “taste tests” conducted before the “new improved” product would be introduced to the market place. Rarely did this type of product reach the retail market but these experiences firmly implanted in my mind the need for simplicity when it comes to standing rib roasts.

I do not casually use the terminology of “Prime Rib” in relationship to “standing rib roast” as being the same.  The similarity is, the standing rib roast I choose, is of Prime grade meat.  Because of the additional marbling of fat veins throughout the meat, the tenderness and flavor is, in my opinion, somewhat superior to the lesser grades most frequently available in the super markets. Therefore, I can refer to my roast as true “Prime Rib”.

As for other lessons learned, do not try to rush the cooking time by increasing the heat. The meat could possibly be more “chewy”, less moist as well as a less satisfactory flavor.

Remember “low and slow”, simply allow the extra time in your meal preparation

The seasonings should also be reasonably simple to prevent over riding the natural flavors of the roast. Following are a few suggestions from my kitchen for preparation of a Standing Rib Roast. Please consider the following as “tips” as I am not including a formal list of ingredients.

For a 6 lb roast:  Total cooking time 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Trust your instant thermometer.

Bring your roast to room temperature at least two hours before cooking. After an hour season with coarse salt and coarse cracked pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

The Rub:  In a small bowl combine 8 finely chopped garlic cloves, finely chop the leaves of 10 sprigs of thyme as well as the leaves of 10 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 T Olive oil. Whisk to blend then rub this mixture over the roast. Set aside.

Peel about 10 shallots but leave whole, about 10 Roma tomatoes halved and 4 T. unsalted butter cubed. Place this combination in the bottom of a roasting pan and evenly distribute. At this point you have a choice of using a rack over the vegetables or placing the roast directly on the vegetables (bone side down).

Cooking: Place the roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes at 500 degrees, reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to cook, basting the roast every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, until a thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 115-120 degrees F for rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, set aside to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

To serve:  place the roasted shallots and tomatoes on a platter, place the slices of roast alongside, season with coarse salt and pepper to taste, and if you are so inclined, drizzle with some good balsamic vinegar.

Tip: Guide for doneness other than rare.  120 to125 degrees F. for medium rare; 125 to 130 degrees F. for medium.  Please also consider my approach to this recipe as a guideline only.  Use your creative spirit and talents to create your own variation with other vegetables and herbs. Have fun with your cooking and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Happy Holidays and good eating.

Clark Williams

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