Prime rib -- slow roasted, tender and juicy -- is a perfect dish for a festive family affair, or for those that truly love steak. Also known as a standing rib roast, this dish was originally reserved for the very wealthy - those that could afford several pounds of beef for a meal. As beef production and butchery processes improved, prime rib became incorporated into mainstream American cuisine. Prime RIb doesn't have to be a special treat for a dinner out - with a few simple tips, you, too, can impress friends and family with tender prime rib at home!
Prime rib is known for being tender enough to cut with a butter knife, so meat selection is paramount to a tender Prime Rib dish. To begin, determine the size of the roast you'll need for your gathering. Plan for about one pound (raw) per person. For example, a one-bone roast will feed two to three hungry people and a four bone roast 8 - 10. It sounds like a lot, but a lot of the weight is bone. Choose your roast from the butcher counter, if possible, and ask for the ribs cut away and tied back. This will make the roast easier to cook and carve.
Seasoning your Prime Rib gives is a delicious herb crust, crunchy and flavorful, that steak lovers drool over. To season your prime rib, start with a 1/2 cup of softened butter. Then add to it:
Rapidly whisk all ingredients together, then brush over the prime rib. Any leftovers can be used to baste your prime rib while cooking.
Searing the Prime Rib is key to getting that crunchy herb crust and locking in the flavor. There are two ways to go about this. If your prime rib is small enough, you can sear it on the stovetop. Heat a large pan with a bit of cooking oil in the bottom. When the pan is hot, place the prime rib on it. Sear until it's a dark brown, turning to get each side. For larger roasts, generally two bones and bigger, you can sear in the oven. Pre-heat to 500 degrees, then place a large oven-safe roasting pan in the oven with a small amount of oil in the bottom. Sear the larger roast in the same manner as you would the smaller one, rotating to get even coverage.
The key to moist, tender Prime Rib is oven roasting - low, and slow. If you've seared your Prim Rib in the oven, drop the temperature to 275 degrees f; otherwise, preheat your oven to 275 degrees f. One the oven is at the correct temperature, place your prime rib, seared and seasoned, in an oven-safe roasting pan on the bottom rack. Plan to cook 15-18 minutes per pound for a doneness of medium to medium rare. Check your prime rib periodically with a meat thermometer. Prime rib is rare at 120-125°F, medium rare at 130-135°F, and well done at 145°F
The classic sauce for prime rib is au jus. It's simple to make and can be done after you remove the prime rib from the oven to rest. To make au jus:
Au Jus is a classic sauce for prime rib, but another one that's almost as popular is a horseradish cream sauce. This one may be purchased at your local grocery store, or if you prefer one that's freshly made, it's simple to make at home. Just combine a cup of mayonnaise with two tablespoons of raw horseradish and finely chopped parsley. Whisk together. Depending on how much you and your guests like spicy dips, you can add more horseradish to taste. Sprinkle with paprika for a pretty garnish.
Resting your prime rib is critical to locking in the savory juices that make this cut of meat melt in your mouth. The term resting refers to letting a piece of beef sit for a few minutes after removing from the oven. If you cut into a piece of steak to son after removing from a hot oven, the juices will run out, leaving you with a dry, chewy piece of meat. For prime rib, a good rule of thumb is to let it rest 5 to 10 minutes for every pound of meat. This may seem like a long time, but for tender prime rib, you'll need plenty of time to allow the juices to soak back into the meat.
Carving prime rib can be a delicate task. Using a proper knife can make the difference between beautiful, uniform cuts of juicy roast and choppy, uneven steaks. Carefully remove any butcher twine used around the bones. Then, using a very sharp knife, such as a Santoku or large Chef's knife, slice the roast away from the bones. Place the prime rib roast on a carving platter or cutting board and gently, using a meat carving knife, carve your roast into half-inch slices.
Prime rib, while delicious, may not be the only item on your dinner menu. Popular sides for prime rib are mashed potatoes, especially when accompanied by au Jus gravy. Other popular side dishes that complement prime rib include roasted asparagus or roasted carrots. Green beans, with bacon or almonds, are another delicious choice. Fresh rolls are perfect for a family-style dinner - and don't forget to add your favorite dessert!
One of the best things about preparing a tender prime rib dinner at home is having a leftover steak to enjoy over the next few days. Try thinly sliced prime rib served cold, as a deli-style sandwich, or hot, on a hoagie roll, French-dip style. Other ways to use leftover prime rib could be diced into cubes for a stew - simply heat your au jus and steak with root vegetables, onions, and garlic.
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