Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cooking Your Holiday Roasts

HOLIDAY ROASTS Starting Friday December 21st
  • Windy Hill Farms Lamb Racks These locally produced grass finished Dorper lamb racks are a truly exceptional treat for the Coop. These are in limited supply so pre order them to guarantee you get some.
  • Niman Ranch Lamb Racks and Crown Roasts Sustainably raised lamb from Niman Ranch. We can also make up a Crown Roast for a visual and culinary feast.
  • Niman Ranch Standing Rib Roast This is the master of all roasts. Succulent and decadent, plan for two dinners per rib, and order by the number of ribs. Here are tips and techniques for preparing this amazing roast.

The Standing Rib Roast is the King of Roasts and makes an amazing center piece for special meals. It can be daunting to tackle this large and extravagant cut of beef, but in reality, it is rather simple to cook. With a roast like this it is highly advisable to use a meat thermometer. A probe thermometer that stays in the roast and lets you know when it has reached the desired temperature is the easiest. Remember to put the thermometer in the thickest part of the roast, but avoid bone and fat because these can give you false readings.  

There are a couple trains of thought on seasoning. First is salt. Salt pulls moisture so some theories state that salting the exterior is unnecessary and will actually contribute to drying out the roast. However, you are most likely to be cooking this roast on the rare side, so drying out roast might not be an issue and there are other techniques in the cooking process that will prevent this from happening. Salt is, therefore, up to you. You can also score the fat to allow any rub that you put on the roast to get deeper into the roast. I would posit that this is most likely adding more flavor to the fat than the inside of the roast. Rib roasts by nature are full of flavor, but a tasty crust is also a corner stone of this fabulous roast so by all means, flavor it up. You can use a dry rub or you can make a wet paste. There are plenty of pre made rubs that would be fantastic here, or make up your own. Dijon mustard is a great way to make a paste and flavored vinegars would also go a long way in flavoring your crust. 

There are several key steps in dry roasting a roast this size. First off, let it warm up. You want it as close to room temperature as possible. This will allow for even cooking and a shorter cooking time. Place the roast in your pan with the rib side down (fat side up). Start with a ripping hot oven @450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. This is where the thermometer becomes the better indicator than a cooking time. Keep in mind that after you pull the roast from the oven it will continue to cook. A good rule of thumb is 13-15 minutes per pound for rare (115-120 degrees) and 15-17 minutes per pound for medium rare (125-130 degrees). Let the roast rest for at least fifteen minutes. During that time the internal temperature will rise about 5 degrees. It is best to cover it with foil while it is resting.

Our Standing Rib Roasts will have had the bones removed and tied back on for ease of carving. After resting, just cut the butchers twine and carve from end to end. If your pan is able to go directly to the stove top burner, there is a great opportunity for pan sauces. Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the fatted juices and put over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk together. Add two cups of liquid (stock, wine, or a combination of both) and bring to a boil. Thicken it until it lightly coats the back of a spoon.

- Mark
Meat & Seafood Buyer

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