Here’s my holiday conundrum, and I bet you can relate: I am in charge of this year’s holiday meal, which will feature a big standing rib roast. Everyone in my family wants their meat rare, but I want the outside to be nicely seared. How to have both?
Cooking a big roast at high heat can get you that nice crisp outer crust, but it comes at a price. Cooking a roast at high heat for even part of the time generally means you end up with just a small core of rare meat running down the center of the roast.
Luckily, the fix is easy. Instead of roasting the meat at high heat for any amount of time, I briefly sear the roast on the stovetop before it goes in the oven. Then it is hands off time while the beef slowly comes up to whatever internal temperature you want in a 200 F oven. That’s it. Perfect outside, perfect inside.
You’ll want to make sure your oven is well calibrated and that you have a proper instant thermometer. And don’t forget to let the roast rest after you have cooked it so the juices have time to re-distribute, ensuring juicy meat.
When shopping for your roast, ask for a partial rack of bones, three to four bones from the loin end, also referred to as the small end or the first cut. This half of the rack has less fat and more meat than the shoulder side of the roast. Also, ask the butcher to remove the chine bone, which allows you to cut between the ribs when the roast is done.
I like to serve my roast with a rich bearnaise sauce. It is the holidays, after all. Make the reduction for the sauce while the roast is in the oven, then finish it while the meat rests. I like to use both dry and fresh tarragon for my bearnaise for a more intense tarragon hit. I put the dry stuff in the reduction, then strain it out and finish with fresh.
SLOW-ROASTED STANDING RIB ROAST WITH BEARNAISE SAUCE
Start to finish: 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (40 minutes active)
For the roast:
8- to 10-pound standing beef rib roast (3 to 4 ribs), the top 2 inches of the bones frenched, if desired
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the bearnaise:
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Nutrition information per serving: 980 calories; 790 calories from fat (81 percent of total calories); 89 g fat (40 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats); 265 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 41 g protein; 470 mg sodium
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