Friday, December 16, 2011

Whole Foods Friday: The Classic Roast

If you want to know more about Whole Foods Friday, take a look at the tab at the top.

There are certain foods that scream "elegant" and at the top of that list for me is a beef rib roast. Really, it's just a hunk of roasted meat, but there's something about it ... it seems more celebratory than a different beef roast or even a a rib steak.

You can make your prime rib dinner just a little more special with a couple of very simple additions - a creamy horseradish sauce, and blue cheese dressing for your salad. All home made. Add your favorite potato and vegetable, and everyone will think you're a star.

But here's the secret. None of this is difficult, and there aren't a lot of ingredients. The horseradish sauce can be made a day or more ahead, and so can the salad dressing. Once the meat goes into the oven, you can ignore it.

Sure, it's a fancy dinner - but it's not a complicated one.

The other great thing about a roast like this is that you can accommodate a variety of tastes when it comes to the doneness of the meat. The outer slices will be more well done, while the inner slices will be more rare.

Roast Beef with Horseradish Sauce
When you buy your rib roast, tell the butcher how many people you need to serve, and you'll get one the right size. How many it will serve also depends on how you slice it, and what you're serving with it. If you make thin slices of the beef, people tend to eat less than when you slice it into thick sections. A remote-read thermometer is your best friend for roasting meat. You can monitor the temperature without opening the oven.

1 standing rib roast
Salt and pepper

Take the roast out of the refrigerator about an hour before roasting, to let it come up to room temperature. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the roast in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet (I usually use a quarter-sheet pan) rib-side down. Insert a thermometer into the roast, with the tip as close to the center of the roast as you can get.

Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 325 degrees. Roast until the meat reaches 120 degrees for rare; 130 degrees for medium rare - it can be from 13-20 minutes per pound, depending on the shape of the meat and your preferred doneness.

Remove the roast from the oven, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce
You can use prepared horseradish to make this sauce, but making your own horseradish to start is easy. And one you've made the horseradish, you'll probably find other uses for it. I like to add a bit to salad dressings and deviled eggs.

1 horseradish root
White vinegar
Sour cream

To make the horseradish:
Peel all the brown off the horseradish root, cut off the dried ends, and chop it into pieces about an inch long. Put in in your blender or food processor and blend until it is relatively smooth. Add only as much water as necessary to get it to blend.

Wait a minute or two after blending before you open the blender or food processor - the fumes can be really strong.

Drain out any water if it's loose and sloppy, then add a tablespoon of white vinegar - this helps to stabilize the heat. Stir to combine, then transfer the horseradish to a storage container. If it's too dry, you can add a little more vinegar. It should have some moisture in it.

To make the cream sauce:
Combine equal parts of the horseradish and sour cream. Add a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Give it a taste, and add more horseradish or more sour cream, to suit your taste.
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