Standing Rib Roast for a Small Crowd


{NOTE: During several seasons of Downton Abbey I decided to cook dinners to eat while watching the show that somehow felt kind of Downton Abbey-ish to me.  No claims to authenticity, truly, but a fun little project.}

This is this week’s Downton Abbey recipe post, and a culinary commentary on the changing times of the English aristocracy in the early 20th century.  Ok, no it’s not.  It is a commentary on the fact the normally exorbitantly priced prime bone in rib roast was on crazy sale at one of my favorite supermarkets and it seemed fitting to make a patrician roast for an upper class show, even though I was working with a smaller roast for my smaller group.

Though of course those of us who have been following along know that the turning of a blind eye to the changing economy and times is getting Downton Abbey in a bit of a pickle.  A few more beef eye round roasts and a few less standing rib roasts are really in order.  But not tonight!  And it was on sale!  I imagine Mrs. Patmore would have also thought this to be a smart indulgence.

And yet, despite the savings, I was handling a very expensive cut of meat, and I did NOT want to mess this.  Up.  Some recipes research indicated that a favored method amongst fine cooks it to start the roast at a very high temperature to seal in the juices, lower the heat for a period of time, and finish the roast with a blast of heat to create a great crust.  I love that I didn’t have to sear the roast first; sometimes that step is necessary but I’m always grateful when it’s not.

You can make a quick horseradish sauce (sour cream or mayo, jarred horseradish, salt and pepper, maybe a squeeze of lemon) and serve it with this.  On the side, besides the carrots and potatoes: sautéed Brussels sprouts, or spinach salad or both.

Dinner aside, I am very nervous about the Anna storyline.

Downton Abbey Dinner #5: Season 4, Episode 6: Chicken with Mushrooms in a Cream Sauce

Downton Abbey Dinner #5: Season 4, Episode 5: Salt Cod Cakes

Downton Abbey Dinner #2: Season 4, Episode 2: Dijon and Honey Crusted Pork Tenderloins

Downton Abbey Dinner #1: Season 4, Episode 1: One Pot Cod, Cabbage and Edamame

1 (2-rib) roast, about 3 to 3 ½ pounds, trimmed of some of the excess fat, at room temperature

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup red wine or beef or chicken broth

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
  2. Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper. Use a small sharp knife to poke small holes all over the meat and insert the garlic  slivers into the holes.  Place the meat, bone side down, in a roasting pan or large cast iron pan.  Toss the carrots and potatoes with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and surround the roast with them.rr-raw
  3. Place the roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes (do not peek at the meat during this time; the high heat needs to be uninterrupted). Turn the heat down to 350°F and continue to roast for 35 to 40 minutes until a meat thermometer stuck into the very center of the roast and not near the bone registers 115°F (see Note).  Turn the heat back up to 475°F and let it cook for another 10 minutes until it is beautifully browned on the outside.  Check the internal temperature again: 125°F is rare, 130°F is medium rare, 135°F is medium rare.  You do not want to go above 150°F – it’s kind of a waste of this cut of meat.
  4. Remove the meat from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board; tent the meat with foil to keep it warm. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter or bowl.  Pour off all but one or  two tablespoons of the fat from the roasting pan and place the roasting pan over a burner on high heat. Add the wine or broth and stir, scraping up any brown bits, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Transfer it to a pitcher or bowl with a spoon to pass at the table.
  5. When the roast has sat for 10 minutes to reabsorb the juices, slice it and moisten the meat a bit with some of the pan sauce before serving, then pass the rest of the sauce.

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