LOS ANGELES, December 25, 2013– A Prime Rib or a Standing Rib Roast isn’t just a piece of meat for the holidays it’s a gift of love, a source of pride and it’s a part of a lifelong memory that includes family, friends and a great meal around the dinner table.
It is not hard to create the perfect roasted beast, if you have the information you need to not only buy, but 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 that can be easily made while your roast is setting.
All of these will make for a well-rounded meal that will become part of your families Christmas traditions and memories.
What is it: 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.
Where to buy it:
Your local butcher will be the best place to buy a great piece. However, if you don’t have a good butcher, around the holidays you can usually find a roast in the grocery store. If it’s not around a holiday you might have to ask them to order it for you.
How to buy it: When searching for the finest cuts of meat look for a bright red color (unless Cryovacked then it might be purple). And you want it to be soft but firm to the touch. It should smell clean and a bit sweet. The blood that comes from it should be red in color and not brown. Choose the smaller end of the Rib for a better proportion of fat to meat ratio.
How to cook it: This method was handed down to me by my grandmother whose Holiday Prime Rib dinner is the stuff of legends. This easy to do method works every time.
Ingredients - Serves 6 hearty appetites
6 lb prime rib cut off the bone but tied back on with butchers 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 butchers twine, tie the bone back to the meat to help retain flavor and enhance the meats tenderness and 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 it will give you a uniform and flavorful outcome.
Place the Prime Rib, bone side down in the pan, into the hot 500-degree oven. Roast it for 7 minutes per pound at 500 degrees (5 pounds =35 minutes). Do not open the door.
Then turn the oven off but, NO matter what, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR for 1 hour
After 1 hour remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Perfect every time for medium rare.
What is it: 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 in a spiral.
Where to buy them: Your local grocery store should carry them either in a bag or loose though around the holidays, Whole Foods often has them on the “stalk”.
How to buy them: The Brussels sprout 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 Brussels sprouts could have a musty flavor.
How to cook them:
Use a sharp knife and cut off the growing end about 1-2 centimeters from the end.
Using your fingers, remove the outer leaves and reveal the fresh, vibrant leaves that lay underneath.
Take your knife and cut the Brussels sprouts in half or into quarters depending on your preference. For halves cut the Brussels sprout into two pieces and make sure to cut through the growing end. For quarters, cut the Brussels sprouts into half, then half again making sure to cut through the growing end.
After the brussels sprouts are cut toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also add some shaved carrots to add a bit of sweet or squeeze orange juice right from the orange onto the sprouts before baking.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
Use a spatula to flip the vegetable a few times during the cooking process.(Quartered brussels sprouts will be cooked more than the halved brussels sprouts)
Three Cheese Risotto
What is it: Risotto is made using short grained rice such as Arborio, but also includes Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano rices. These rices are used for their ability to absorb liquids, and flavors and are significantly more expensive than standard bag, or Spanish rice. They are, however, worth the price and the effort to create this dish.
While risotto can be prepared using a variety of flavors, one of my favorites uses rich red wines to create a creamy, vibrant plum colored dish. Three cheese risotto is classic and easy to make.
Where to buy them: Most grocery stores carry the different rices and Arborio can be found in most stores, while a specialty store may be needed for some of the more exotic rices, including the Carnaroli, Maratelli and Vialone Nano varieties,
How to buy it: Buy Arborio, sometimes packaged as Risotto, rice, that has been sealed into a cryovacked bag and boxed. The cryovacking is done to ensure the rice retains its freshness and ability to absorb the liquids used in cooking.
There are many quick cooking risottos but they have no where near the flavor or texture of the slow cooked version done on the stovetop.
How to cook it:
1 c Arborio rice
1 yellow onion small diced
¼ c white wine and a glass for you while you cook!
4 c chicken stock
½ stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup each grated Parmesan, asiago and pecorino cheeses
4 tbs very cold butter cut into cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauté pan add a little bit of olive oil and sauté the onions creating a soffritto. You can also use butter, but that requires a slower cooking, and very careful watching, so as not to brown the butter.
Cooking the onions, make sure that they are glossy, aromatic and soft. Do not brown or caramelize the onions. While the onions are cooking heat the chicken stock to very hot in another pot. I always forget to do this, but it is really important because it cooks into the rice faster when hot.
Next add the Arborio rice into the sauté with the onions and coat the rice with the fat, this is called tostatura, to toast, and the process of coating the rice and slightly roasting it, keeps it firmer, or al dente, during the cooking process.
If you don’t do this, you are liable to have rice mush when you are done.
Add a pinch of sea salt.
Once the rice is firmly coated and very hot, slowly add the wine over a steady heat, stirring gently so as not to break the rice; cook over a medium heat (do not let the wine boil, but it should be very hot) until it is absorbed. Do not let the rice ever cook in a fully dry pan.
To your very hot pan, slowly add the very hot chicken stock, one ladle at a time, keeping the fire on medium low, slowly adding more chicken stock as it is absorbed. Do not let it brown. Not dumping all the chicken stock onto the rice at once is important to keep the rice from becoming mushy.
Don’t add so much liquid that the rice is floating.
Stir gently with a flat edged spoon being careful to not let the rice cook to the bottom of the pot where it could burn and ruin not only the taste but the color of your dish.
Continue to slowly add the chicken stock until the rice is soft, but still very firm. Depending on your elevation, how hot your stock is, fresh your rice is, you may or may not use all the chicken stock.
When the stock is mostly absorbed, you still want it to be wet with a small amount of liquid in the pan with the rice, take if from the heat and let it rest, continuing to cook and absorbing the liquid.
After letting it rest for ten minutes, sprinkle the risotto with the butter cubes and cheese and mix with a flat spoon until the remaining liquid, butter and cheese creates a creamy sauce. This stirring should be vigorous as it helps to separate some of the starch from the rice to create a richer sauce, but not so aggressive as to break up the rice, which should have remained very firm throughout the process.
Garnish with fresh parsley, halved cherrie tomatoes, flavor rich olives, cracked fresh pepper and/or grated cheese. Serve.
For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from
Chef Mary, visit her website at marypaynemoran.com
Follow Chef Mary on Twitter @chefmarymoran
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