Standing Rib Roast

So, the “origin story” of sorts of this dish follows….but before you dig into my weird little Downton Abbey world, I will preface this intro with another brief intro (as always, you don’t have to read any of this—the recipe is right down there for the taking).

This is a the kind of dish that makes a meal into a celebration. Often these kinds of roasts are reserved for larger gatherings, or a special treat at a restaurant, often labeled Prime Rib. But you can make this in your very own home, for a small group—and if you still want this kind of lavish standing beef roast action for a family of four? Oh, the leftovers you will have. My kids might wake up before noon to get a second go round on this roast.

Standing Rib Roast

{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 was written back then, but I just remade and reshot the dish, and it ROCKED, so now I need to show it off again. And now the movie is coming….who know what will happen when that day comes?}

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 beef 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 standing rib roast for my smaller group.

Standing Rib Roast

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 special! I imagine Mrs. Patmore would have also thought this to be a smart indulgence.

Standing Rib Roast

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.

Is this a gorgeous dish or what? And it’s not because of any fancy footwork on my part (or yours) it’s because when your surround a beautiful cut of meat with colorful seasonal vegetables the good looks take care of themselves.

Standing Rib Roast

On the side, besides the carrots and potatoes: sautéed Brussels sprouts, or spinach salad or both. And if you decide to make the roast without the baby potatoes, you could make a show stopper of a dinner by pairing this beef with a hasselback potato. That would be a heady celebratory meal.  I’m also thinking Spoonbread Corn Pudding and a Romaine, Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad would be lovely.

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

Standing Rib Roast

Other Downton Abbey Dinners:

Standing Rib Roast

Standing Rib Roast

This is a stunner of a dish, and decadent holiday dinner party fare.
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 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
  • 1 pound baby yellow potatoes halved or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
  • 4 ounces cipolline or cipollini onions peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs or so
  • 1 cup red wine or beef or chicken broth


  • Preheat the oven to 475°F.
  • Trim the rib roast and tie it up with twine if you like. 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, potatoes and onions with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and surround the roast with them. Tuck the thyme sprigs amidst everything.
  • 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 30 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 145°F—it’s kind of a waste of this cut of meat.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 621.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.9g | Protein: 24.63g | Fat: 48.85g | Saturated Fat: 19.41g | Cholesterol: 102.88mg | Sodium: 91.68mg | Potassium: 726.64mg | Fiber: 2.02g | Sugar: 1.96g | Vitamin A: 2583.3IU | Vitamin C: 14.55mg | Calcium: 34.75mg | Iron: 3.22mg

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