My favorite Christmas cookery tradition is standing rib roast served with horseradish cream (insert swoon here).
One nice thing about this tasty tradition is that the roasts are often on sale at this time of year. Another nice thing is getting to eat the most fantastic roast beef sandwiches in the world ever the next day. The best thing is that prime rib roasts are dratted easy to make!
Make sure you get excellent high quality meat and let your butcher guide you - get prime, not choice or any other such thing no matter how alluring the price difference. If you make this only once a year, do it right. It's not very mindful otherwise. Check out a variety of store and see who has a decent price, you may be surprised.
Standing Ribs of Great Majesty and Tastiness
If you are a calorie counter, you can check on the nutrition facts here.
What you need:
Get the roast from the butcher counter at your favorite store and ask for help in your choice. Ask for the small end of the roast as it is more tender. See pic above to see what a good roast looks like. The fat is necessary so don't trim it. Bone in is essential for flavor, so don't go boneless to save carving work...besides, picking up the rib and nibbling is the best thing ever.
Bring the roast to room temp by letting it sit out of the fridge for a couple hours. This is necessary because of the fast cookery time. Your roast is dratted cold in the middle. You want it to cook? Set it out. If you have cats, put it in the microwave or the unheated oven...just saying.
at least 3-4 t of freshly minced garlic
a good sprinkle of coarse ground sea salt*
about a t or so of fresh ground black pepper
What to do:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
With the tip of the paring knife, make small slits, oh, about an inch long and 1/2 inch to an inch deep, all over the roast. Stuff the little pockets full of garlic.
Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and rub it in good all over. If it looks insufficient, sprinkle on some more. Insert an oven safe meat thermometer in the thickest meatiest part to near center if possible - and it is best to position it so you can see it without opening the oven. Remember, every time you open the oven, you lower the temperature in the oven and increase the time it will take to cook your roast.
Place the roast on a rack in a shallow pan fatty side to the top - the ribs will act as the roasting rack if you don't have one. Roast for 25 minutes on a lower rack in the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast til the meat thermometer registers 130-135 for med rare or a little higher if you want it more medium and it's best not to go beyond 145. The roast temp will rise while it sits so don't roast it to the point of doneness or you will have an over cooked roast. If you let it go to 145 it will be medium indeed. It should take about 1 3/4 - 2 hours for the meat to be done once you have lowered the temp. About 2 - 2 1/4 hours for a 4 rib roast. Remember, a larger roast will take longer to cook. Temperature is the important thing, not time.
The picture to the left is not a pic of my roast, but it's pretty. I'll post a pic of my roast later, I forgot to take a pic when it was done last year.
If you are a gravy maker, this roast makes the most awesome gravy in the world, guaranteed. Drain off most but not all of the fat (leave a couple tablespoons and the good browned bits in the pan. Set the pan over a burner set to medium. Then add either some flour or cornstarch and stir it up a bit. Add some beef stock and stir making sure to scrape up and loosen the browned bits. Allow to simmer and stir a bit til it thickens. It will only take a few minutes. If you have some of that great instant granular roux that Tony Chachere makes, and the gravy needs thickening, use that.
To really send this roast over the top and make your guests swoon in mindful appreciation, make my Horseradish Cream.
*now, there is a vigilante group of cooks that swear that salting the roast before baking will ruin it by making it less tender and juicy. I've not seen any reduction in the tenderness or juiciness of my roasts because of salt. But if you want to make sure, then by all means do not use the salt! Me, I'm salting the thing.