The Finest Cut

Now that I am writing about Prime Rib, guess what I am having for Christmas? That’s right! I just changed my mind. Every time I write, talk or think about garlic and meat together, my taste buds go frantic, even more than thinking about a lemon. Let me give you a basic way to prepare this classic Holiday centerpiece and an alternatively spicy recipe. W.A.Bean and Sons, in Bangor, have the boneless Prime Rib for sale and you certainly can adapt any of the recipes below using boneless. Simply make sure you roast with the rounded(fat) side up. Now try one of these original Yankee Chef recipes to serve as your Holiday Prime Rib centerpiece.

There is nothing wrong with being simple and enjoying every bit of flavor a rib has to offer. But at times you just want to impress, and trust me, these recipes will impress. Let me give you a quick rundown on this cut of meat first however.
Depending on how many you’re feeding, bone-in prime rib can be purchased with only 2 ribs and up to 7 or 8 ribs. Keep in mind that a 3-rib roast will generally feed 5-6 guests while a 7-rib roast will feed about 12 people.

Cook to temperature of 125-degrees F for rare prime rib. A temperature of 135-140-degrees F for medium rare, 145-150-degrees F for medium doneness. If you want your prime rib done anymore than medium, have turkey!

Napa-Spiced Prime Rib

4 to 5 pound prime rib
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup peppercorns, crushed with side of large knife*
2 tablespoons  Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt

Napa Valley Gravy
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet
1 cup beef stock
1 cup apple cider or juice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325º F . Place roast, rib-side down, in roasting pan. Make a paste with butter, flour, peppercorns, mustard, sugar and salt. Rub over top and sides of roast. Roast, uncovered, for about 1½ hours for rare or until meat thermometer reads 125º F  or 2 hours for medium or until meat thermometer reads 150º F . Place roast on cutting board, and tent with foil for 15 minutes.
To make Napa Valley Gravy, skim most of the fat from roasting pan and discard. Place pan over medium heat and stir in mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in wine, beef stock and apple cider, scraping up any bits stuck to pan. Simmer, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain(if desired-I don’t) into a warmed gravy boat. Serve slices of roast drizzled with gravy.

*Mix up the colors of your peppercorns for a variety of color and taste, such as pink, orange, red and black.

Fragrant-Herbed Prime Rib
Make this butter just prior to roasting the Prime Rib. Use the same Prime Rib as above but rub the beef with 1 tablespoon coarse-grained salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons minced, fresh chili peppers(your choice) or you can use chili powder with 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder.  Rub mixture into beef, evenly coating the entire surface. Cook as directed above and serve with a slice of Grilled Apple Butter centered on each portion of prime rib.

Grilled Apple Butter
Peel and core 2 large apples of your choice(not Golden or Red Delicious though) and cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges. Lightly brush slices with vegetable oil. Grill papaya slices over medium-high heat in a skillet for 5 minutes, turning once. Set aside. Soften 1 pound real butter. Finely chop apple; stir into butter. Spoon mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll into a log, twisting ends closed. Chill for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices to serve. Reserve remaining butter for another use.

Prime Rib with Mustard Parmesan Crust
This recipe combines the abundant flavors of garlic, mustard adn Parmesan cheese to give you that extra “kick in the pants” that can only be highlighted by a side of True Harvard or Yale Beets and maybe a Yorkshire Pudding or two.

4 to 5 lb. prime rib
1/2 cup minced garlic in oil
1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Coarse grained salt and black pepper
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and rub the prime rib entirely with this wet rub. Cook as directed in the Napa-Spiced Prime Rib recipe.

Check out my next blog(being posted Sunday night) with regards to pairing your Prime Rib dinner with a popover or Yorkshire Pudding. Is there a difference?