Christmas is two days away, so the smell of roasting meat should be in many homes all over the world. Deals for good cuts of meat and large birds abound throughout the marketplace, as well as people whistling, smiling, giving the finger to people who drive slowly or park in stupid places, telling the Salvation Army guy to piss off…ah! the spirit of Christmas!
The picture above is of a 5+ pound rib roast that I made last night for my family and our friend Marcy, who owns the famous Big Belly Deli in Newport Beach (if you haven’t been there, go and you’ll be a regular). She has a knack for bringing up some pretty fancy wines, and last night was no different. It is also the reason that I write this post today rather than right after I made it, like I normally do.
I think about my late mom every day of my life, and this is especially true during Christmas. This was her season, and she could have faced up to Martha Stewart with aplomb any day of the week. My mom’s favorite meal was prime rib, and Christmas was one of the times she made it. It’s so simple to make and such a crowd-pleaser. When I went outside to find my child in the afternoon, I reentered the house to the wafting aroma of beef roasting with salt and pepper. I welled up a bit for the memories, of course, but mostly because I was going to eat that damn beast in a few hours with Yorkshire pudding.
One last thing: in yesterday’s preparation, I made a major mistake on the Yorkshire pudding, that I will explain later. Did it piss me off? Yes it did. Did it ruin my evening? No, it didn’t. But I will splay my stupidity before you on Dinner with Jonny to make a point: fucking up during a special meal happens, and while ’tis disconcerting, I’ve learned to move past it very quickly, make my apologies (which are seldom needed), and continue drinking wine like a medieval lord.
a 5 to 10 lb. bone in rib roast
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Rub the rib roast all over with the salt and pepper. Set the rib roast bone side down in a baking pan or dish that’s big enough to hold it well. You did it! Sing the Dora song!
For about 30 minutes, roast that guy at 450°. After 30 minutes, turn the oven heat down to 350°. Cook it at this temperature for (according to Emeril) 18 minutes per pound for rare and 22 minutes a pound for medium. I wanted in between that, and I had a 5 pound roast, so I guessed 20 minutes a pound, which turned out to be 1 hour 20 minutes. It came out medium, too, which was perfect. I took the roast out of the oven and transitioned it to a serving dish. I let it rest for about 30 minutes while I made the Yorkshire Pudding. When you’re ready, slice thinly and serve.
Note: Before I tell you the recipe (which I got from Alton Brown on foodtv.com), I will tell you how and why I flubbed this one. A Yorkshire pudding, if you didn’t know, is an oven baked pancake thingie made with the leftover beef drippings from the baking pan. I had salted and peppered the roast generously in the baking pan (rather than on a cutting board), so all of the excess salt and pepper was at the bottom of the baking dish. Thinking that I’m hot shit, I decided to put the batter directly into the baking pan, which would have worked had not so much salt been in the pan. The result was awesome in texture, and my sodium intake for the next week is covered. It was bloody salty and I was quite bummed because that is what I look forward to when eating prime rib. Alas. SO, if you make this, either make sure the roasting pan is not all salted up, or use a different pan altogether.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs as close to room temp as you can get them
2 cups milk
1/4 beef drippings, divided
Heat the oven up to 400°.
Take 2 tablespoons of the drippings and put them in the pan you will be using for the pudding. Put it in the oven to get it smoking hot as you make the pudding batter.
In a food processor, blender, or with a quick-whisking arm, blend all of the ingredients plus the other 2 tablespoons of beef drippings. It should be a bubbly fluffy batter when it’s ready (in a processor or blender, about 30 seconds). When the drippings and the pan are hot enough, pour this batter into the pan, like this:
Bake this 30 to 40 minutes while your roast rests. When it’s done, it’ll look like this:
(Mine could have been browner on top, to be honest)
Cut this into slices and serve immediately with the meat and the juices from it.
Horseradish Mustard Sauce (this is based on Ina Garten’s “Sunday Rib Roast” recipe)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (less if you’re scared of horseradish)
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix all of the ingredients together well and let it chill in the fridge for a while until you’re ready to serve.
Serve this with the roast beef slices.
Drinks! Holy mother of god did we have good wine with this:
Stags Leap 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon: This needed to open up in a decanter for a while. In fact, we all agreed that it needed to not be opened for some years, but it worked well with the food after it aired a bit. It’s got a lot of tannins and pepper. Very full bodied.
Justin Temperanillo: This wine brought me to my knees. If you get the pleasure of ever trying this, embrace the opportunity. If you like European reds, this is for you. Well balanced, peppery, but tempered with a good plum-ness.
Daou Reserve Zinfandel: Again, just a testicle masseuse of a wine. Big berry flavors but light on the palate.
The exact details of each wine are bit hazy today, truth be told. Still, I remember feeling more jubilent as the evening wore on…
All three just made this meal a memorable one, but the company of my wife, kid, and Marcy made it unforgettable.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino, 2012