Down with Love: Rib Roast
A Rib Roast (also known as Prime Rib) is perfect for Down With Love: a bit retro but still extremely stylish and satisfying. It is the kind of dinner that Ewan McGregor's character - Catcher Block - might have prepared in his bachelor pad.
There are fancier recipes for Prime Rib; some stud the beef with garlic, or crust it with herbs. We're going to keep this really simple - and no less delicious.
Rib Roast is extremely easy to prepare so long as you have a good meat thermometer. In fact, it is nearly impossible to make well without a good thermometer: The only way to make sure that the meat is cooked to the level of "done" that you desire is by thermometer; timing alone won't cut it. I like remote thermometers that let me see what is doing in the roast without opening the door to the oven (thereby losing heat and extending the cooking time).
- Rib Roast "on the bone". (One of the great things about a Rib Roast is that it scales from a dinner for 4 on up. Each "rib" serves about two people. I like to add an "extra" rib to the count for those who want seconds. So, start with two ribs and work your way up from there, adding a rib for every two guests.)
- Beef Stock
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Now, turn down the oven to 350. The next stage of the cooking is governed by the thermometer, not the clock, but if you need to estimate your cooking time you can use the following guidelines:
- 2 ribs / 4-5 lbs / about 50 minutes,
- 3 ribs / 7-8.5 lbs / about 1.25 hrs,
- 4 ribs / 9-10.5 lbs / about 2 hrs.
These times are in addition to the 15 minutes we already cooked the roast.
Cooking times, however, are not strict; you must use a thermometer. We will want to pull the roast from the oven when it reaches the following temperatures: Rare - 115 degrees, Medium Rare - 125 degrees, Medium - 135 degrees, Medium Well - 145 degrees, Well Done - 155 degrees.
Cover the roast with aluminum foil and let it sit for about 15 -20 minutes. It should continue to rise in temperature. Our goal is to reach about 5 degrees higher than the stated temperatures above. Continue to monitor the beef with a thermometer. Don't let it overcook! Remove the tent once you reach the desired temperature.
Make the Au Jus: While the roast is standing we can make our vegetables (like steamed broccoli) and the Au Jus gravy. Pour out most of the fat from the roasting pan. We're going to pick up the delicious "bits" that stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan through a process called deglazing. Sounds much more complicated than it is: Add 1 cup of beef stock to the pan while it is over a medium heat. Use a spatula to "scrape" the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by boiling it down for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour it into a warmed serving bowl. That's it! Easy, huh?
It's time to carve the roast. Make sure you're working with a sharp long bladed knife. Stand the roast on its side so that the rib bones are pointing upright. Make an incision between the bone and the meat and slice down, removing the ribs all at once from the meat. This should be done away from the table.
The final presentation and carving can be done in the kitchen or at the table. Here, I'm doing it in the kitchen where I will plate the meat with vegetables before I serve it. However, for a grander presentation you can do it at the table - Just remember to use a cutting board that is "grooved" so that any extra juices don't end up on the tablecloth.
You're going to slice the meat in the same direction as the ribs, across the widest section of the roast. Again, make sure your knife is sharp. It also helps to have a carving fork to keep your fingers well out of the way of the blade! Serve with the Au Jus.
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