LOS ANGELES, Dec. 22, 2015 — A prime rib or a standing rib roast is more than dinner. It is a gift, part of your holiday tradition and a treat for both chef to create and loved ones to eat.
Many home chefs shy away from prime rib, but they shouldn’t. It starts with a quality roast, and you want to make sure that you get your roast from a butcher who will ensure the perfect fat ratio.
The cost can also give one pause, as its only worth it if the prime rib is perfectly roasted. But done perfectly, it is worth every shekel.
It is not hard to create the perfect roasted beast. You just need to make sure you have the information you need not only to buy, but also to roast and serve this most royal roast.
And as long as you are going to all the trouble, include delicious roasted Brussels sprouts and a savory three-cheese risotto to your menu—both easily made while your roast is setting.
All of these will make for a well-rounded meal that will become part of your family’s Christmas traditions and memories.
Prime rib is a tender piece of beef because it comes from the muscles that are least used on the cow. It consists of the rib and the tenderloin, located on the ribs closest to the back of the cow.
Your local butcher will be the best place to buy the perfect roast. However, if you don’t have a good butcher, around the holidays you can usually find a roast in the grocery store.
When searching for the finest cuts of meat look for a bright red color. The meat should be cold, soft, yet firm to the touch. It should smell clean and a bit sweet. The myoglobin (“blood”) that comes from it should be red, not brown.
Choose the smaller end of the rib for a better proportion of fat to meat ratio.
The following cooking method is tried and true and works every time.
Ingredients – Serves six hearty appetites
6 lb prime rib cut off the bone but tied back on with butcher’s twine*
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
* Ask your butcher to, or if you are comfortable in the kitchen, cut the meat at the bone, separating the meat from the bone, but leaving the rack connected. Using butcher’s twine, tie the bone back to the meat to help retain flavor and enhance the meat’s tenderness; it also makes it easier to slice.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Bring the roast to room temperature and massage with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You can add other spices or rubs to your massage oil; however, the purist goes simple. Remember, seasoning the meat on all sides will ensure that when you take it out of the oven, the result will be uniform and flavorful.
Place the prime rib bone side down in the pan, then into the 500-degree oven. Roast it for seven minutes per pound at 500 degrees (5 pounds =35 minutes). Do not open the oven door.
Then turn the oven off but, NO matter what, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR for one hour
After one hour, remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
This will give you a perfect, medium rare roast every time.
Brussels sprouts are a breed of wild cabbage grown for its small size at maturity. Brussel sprouts are
typically 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and grow on a thick stalk with the buds in a spiral. Your local grocery store should carry them either in a bag or loose.
The Brussels sprouts should be a green and white color. Their leaves should be intact, and each one should be a little heavy if they are fresh. The older they are, the lighter they are because they lose water as they get older. Make sure you stay away from Brussels sprouts with black spots because they indicate that the sprouts could have a musty flavor.
How to cook them
Use a sharp knife to cut off the growing end, about a half-inch from the end.
Using your fingers, remove the dull outer leaves to reveal the fresh, vibrant leaves underneath.
Take your knife and cut the Brussels sprouts in halves or quarters. Halves: Cut the sprout into two pieces, making sure to cut through the growing end. Quarters: Cut each sprout into four pieces, again making sure to cut through the growing end.
After the sprouts are cut, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with a little ancho chili pepper and small pieces of dried apricot and cranberry for a special treat.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the vegetables a few times during the cooking process. (Quartered brussels sprouts will cook more quickly than the halved ones.)
Risotto is an Italian short grain rice that cooks best at a long slow temperature. It has a creamy and starchy consistency that pairs well with a variety of flavors. Most grocery stores carry risotto, usually on the rice aisle.
Buy risotto in a box where it’s kept in a cryovacked bag to keep it fresh. There are many quick-cooking risottos, but they’re not as good as the slow-cooked version done on the stovetop.
How to cook it
1 cup Arborio rice
1 small yellow onion, diced
¼ cup white wine, and a glass for you while you cook!
4 cups chicken stock
½ stick (2 ounces, or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup each grated Parmesan and pecorino
Salt and pepper to taste
Add a little olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté the onions. Make sure that they are glossy, aromatic and soft.
Next heat the chicken stock in another pot. (I always forget to do this, but it is really important because it cooks into the rice faster.)
Next add the Arborio rice into the pot with the onions.
Use a few chef pinches of salt and toast slightly.
Take the pot off the fire and add the wine, and then put it back on the fire and reduce the wine until the rice has absorbed it completely.
Make sure the fire is on medium low. After the wine cooks into the rice, slowly begin to add your heated chicken stock (not all at once!), stirring with a flat edged spoon. This will help to scrape the rice from the bottom of the pot. Continue to slowly add the chicken stock until the rice is soft but not mushy; you may not add all of the chicken stock.
Add the cheese and butter to the risotto.
Top with cracked fresh pepper and grated cheese. Serve.
For another look at making risotto: