america’s test kitchen

Prime Rib like Butter

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For Thanksgiving I always do a Prime Rib Roast. Screw turkey; it’s dry and boring and literally puts people to sleep.

Thanksgiving of 2011 I made a roast that I just was not pleased with. It had NO flavor and the cooking method I used was less then desireable. I like my meat medium-rare, which is mostly pink, but warm through. I tried that old method of setting the oven to 500 degrees, cooking for five minutes per pound, and then turning the over off and letting the roast sit in there for 2 hours. Yeah, guess who had to recook her roast two hours later? Not fun. My father uses the Showtime Rotisserie, Ron Popeil’s thing, which Dad just refers to as the “SetItAndForgetIt”, and it does normally do a good job. I, however, do not own one of those. So, last night, on my husband’s 30th birthday, I decided to use a tried and true method: low and slow. Placed in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven, I cooked the roast until it reached 130 degrees. That’s it.

Time here doesn’t matter. You need a meat thermometer, period. Seriously. You want time, though? Fine. If your roast is room temperature it will probably take about 30 minutes per pound at 200. If it’s not completely room temperature, then it might take 35-40 minutes a pound. Personally, I don’t like to screw around with such an expensive piece of meat, so I bought a $10 meat thermometer and never looked back.

This recipe is about appreciating the cut known as the prime rib for what it is, ultra meaty deliciousness that’s meant to be served rare, with sauces or butters, that melts in your mouth and tastes fabulously of cow.

I didn’t get a bone-in roast only because the dinner was just for Chip and I. I found a prime roast that weighed 3.8 lbs, cost $28, and felt it would be good for us. If we wanted to have a couple of friends over for an impromptu dinner, there would be enough, and at the same time it was the right size to allow for a long, slow cooking. An hour before cooking, I took the roast out of the fridge. In hindsight I should have taken the roast out about three hours prior to cooking, but, thanks to my thermometer, it didn’t really matter. After an hour of sitting out, I put my roasting pan on my stove top and over high heat I seared each side of my roast for about four minutes per side.

Once seared, I let the meat cool for about 10 minutes and then I rubbed kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed garlic on all its sides, but especially on the fat on top. Once seasoned, I placed the rack into the roasting pan and placed the Prime Rib into the rack, fat side up. I placed the meat thermometer into the center at a decent angle so it could be read periodically without having to pull the entire roast from the over. As it roasts fat side up in a rack all that salt, pepper, and garlic would mingle with the liquifying juices and pour down through the meat while slowly cooking. A. Mae. Zing.

Once the roast reached an internal temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, I let the Prime Rib rest uncovered on a cutting board for 30 minutes. The roast isn’t going to gain much in terms of heat after cooking so slowly, but those juices will be reabsorbed into the meat. I realize that my old, out-dated thermometer in the picture above states that medium meat has a temperature of 160, but I disagree. America’s Test Kitchen recommends removing a rib roast at 130, many chefs I know remove their beef at 123-127, and all of us agree meat done to the point of 160 is dry and over well, let alone mere medium. 130 degrees is more then enough to kill the bacteria we worry about.

Cooking this for so low a temperature and so long a period meant the juices stayed within the meat and that the proteins had extra time to break down. This was the juiciest, tenderest slice of steak I’d ever eaten. Husband and I were both blown away. We’d had filet mignon that was four times the price that wasn’t nearly has delicate and flavorful as this prime rib.

I’m not a fan of horseradish, so with this I made a seasoned butter, using have a stick of room temperature unsalted butter, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 half a minced shallot, and 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley. The steak really didn’t need it, but it certainly didn’t hurt!

Our meal was served with a salad with bleu cheese, sauteed fennel, and fresh bread. No potatoes necessary! I apologize now for the photo, however; I was more then half way through stuffing my face when I realized I didn’t have a picture of the final product, and my husband had gone back for seconds and unceremoniously hacked away at the meat rather than slicing prettily as I had done for his first serving.

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Triple Chocolate & Shattered Dreams

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Alright, so “shattered dreams” is a bit over dramatic.

I haven’t been writing lately and I just feel awful. I don’t know what I think. That something will come from all of this? I don’t know. I’m ridiculous. I have been exhausted recently, some weekend  nights sleeping almost 12 hours, getting up in the morning only because I know I have to rouse myself from bed.

I’m not depressed, in fact I have a new job that I like very much. It’s just that said job keeps me very, very busy and by the time I get home I can barely get through the gym and cooking dinner, let alone cooking anything new and interesting.

And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been cooking a bit, but mostly making old standards. I’ve been meaning to do Pop Bytes as well, what with the over abundance of movie news for the summer, among other things, but I just…haven’t. Below are some pictures of foods I’ve made recently that I completely had intentions of posting here with recipes, none of which really matter, but keep scrolling and you’ll see the recipe for the triple chocolate cookies I’m baking as we speak. Rock.

Super easy scratch drop cheddar biscuits.

Grilled Pizza with eggplant, mozzarella, and smoked provolone.

Slow roasted Brisket in a red wine reduction with braised & blackened Brussel Sprouts.

Year of the Dragon cupcakes with Lemon-Vanilla center.

And this morning I mastered making poached eggs…

Which I ate with toast, a slice of aged provolone, fresh cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper.

Yum.

So, Triple Chocolate Cookies, yeah?

 This is from the America’s Test Kitchen archives. I was thinking of making chocolate crinkles or crackles or whateverthehell they’re called, but I didn’t like any of the recipes I’ve found. Normally, I have no problem with tweaking a recipe and experimenting, but today I wanted a no brainer.

3 oz. baker’s chocolate

1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips. VERY important.

7 TBSPs unsalted butter

2 tsp instant espresso

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

love

Okay, so melt the baker’s chocolate, bittersweet chips, and butter together. Either use a double boiler, also known as a glass bowl over a simmer sauce pot of water, or ye olde microwave. You want it to be smooth and shiny. It’s important that the chips are bittersweet here because the chips have an emulsifier in them that helps them keep their shape, and that emulsifier will work the same magic on our cookies. I fucking love science in food!

Set aside the shiny chocolate. Mix the vanilla & instant espresso together, making instant vanilla espresso extract. It smells amazing, and that’s going to be incorporated through your cookies. Awesome. Now set that aside. In a stand mixer, beat the 3 eggs with the sugar for about 4 minutes on medium-high speed. I stupidly forgot to take a picture of this, but the mixture needs to be thicker, white, and almost creamy. While that’s frothing away, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Ready? Set it aside. Once the 4 minutes are up on the eggs and sugar, turn the mixer down to low, you don’t want to break that froth that you’ve made, and add the extract mixture. Then add the chocolate concoction and continue mixing for another 30 seconds on low, until everything is well blended.

Turn off the mixer and fold in the flour mixture, as well as the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The batter is like brownie batter at this point; set it aside for 30-45 minutes and it will thicken quite a bit. No, you don’t have to refrigerate it. Just set it aside. If it’s July and you live in Austin or Phoenix, then you might want to refrigerate the mixture, but otherwise, the counter is fine.

Once thickened, scoop heaping tablespoons of the chocolate goo on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350. I baked mine for 10 minutes and they probably could’ve used a minute or two more, but my oven normally runs warm. Now here’s the hard part: When you take them out you’re going to think “Those aren’t cooked through!” In fact, a toothpick should come out completely coated in browie-cookieness, if you were to test it. The thing is that these cool forever. Well, it feels like forever. So, take out your so-not-done cookies after about 11-12 minutes, and let sit on the cookie sheets  for ten minutes. Then move them to a cooling rack for an additional 30 minutes. You heard me. Finish baking these cookies and then go out and complete all your shopping, because it seems like an eternity for these to finally cool.

Once they are cool, though, you’re rewarded with a soft, chewy, triple chocolate espresso brownie cookie. Does anyone need these? No. Do you have to have them? Yes.

Christmas Dinner: Braised Short Ribs & Yorkshire Pudding

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Finally.

Dinner time!

Tonight’s entree was braised short ribs with a red wine reduction. And because that’s simply not fattening enough, my husband made Yorkshire pudding out of the drippings. A meal so dripping in its own fat that the eaters will have shiny faces by the time the plates are empty.

This recipe takes 3 – 4 hours, so start a while before you want to eat.

3 1/2 pounds short ribs. Debone those suckers and brown ’em.

1 large onion chopped, white, yellow, or sweet. I don’t recommend red.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Lots of fresh minced garlic. I used 8 or 9 cloves, at least 4 of them rather larger.

3 cups red wine (And one for the chef!…I mean just finish off the bottle by pouring it in a glass and drinking it. Do a little something for you in all this.)

1 cup low sodium beef broth

6 carrots sliced into 2-3 inch pieces

2 – 4 sprigs of Thyme if you got it. I did not.

1 bay leaf

1/2 Tbsp ginger

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

I bought 3 1/2 pounds of short ribs, cut them off the bone, and browned the meat. I chose to debone to cut out a ton of greasy fat I didn’t want to have deal with later. The gelatin in the recipe will retain the bone flavor, however, and makes for a silky, smooth sauce in the end.

Once I browned the meat I poured all, but about a tablespoon of the drippings out of the cast iron pan into a separate bowl for Yorkshire pudding. We’ll get to this later on. It’s best to use a dutch oven for this recipe, but I don’t own one, so I used a regular stock pot. In the stock pot I browned 1 large, chopped onion in that last remaining tablespoon of drippings I mentioned two sentences earlier. I didn’t want the onion to brown too quickly so I sauteed, stirring quite a bit, for 10 minutes or so. Next came the tomato paste, which browned fairly quickly. I added the garlic cloves, stirring until they were just aromatic. At that point I preheated my oven to 300 degrees. I then poured in the red wine over the onion, tomato paste, and garlic and deglazed the pot. I let the red wine simmer away and reduce to about half.

Once the red wine got nice and thick, I added a cup of low sodium beef broth, the bay leaf, ginger, and, finally, the boneless and browned short ribs. Once this mixture was at a simmer, I covered it and slipped it into the preheated oven for 2 hours. While waiting I read most of The World According to Clarkson while Chip put together the LEGO White House.

Those 2 hours took forever. I took the stock pot out of the oven and set it aside while I bloomed the gelatin. In the 1/4 cup of cold water I sprinkled the gelatin and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Gelatin needs to bloom in cold water for at least five minutes, other wise the consistency won’t be as smooth. While the gelatin was doing it’s thing I removed the short ribs and carrots from the pot, plated them and tented the dish with aluminum foil. I then strained the remainder of the stock pot contents in to a large pyrex measuring up and placed it into the fridge, chucking the solids left in the mesh strainer. I let the fat rise in the pyrex for about 10 minutes. After straining the fat from the liquid I poured the liquid back into the stockpot and heated it over medium high heat until it reduced to about 1 cup, just a few minutes. Removing from heat, I whisked in the gelatin. This is a perfect time to taste the sauce and make sure it has enough salt and pepper to your liking.

While I was making the sauce, Chip was making the Yorkshire pudding from a family 2-2-4 recipe.

2 cups milk

2 cups flour

4 eggs

1/2 – 3/4 cups drippings, what ever you got

a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Beat together the milk, flour, eggs, and salt. In a 3 quart rectangle glass dish pour the meat drippings and place in the oven. Get those drippings smoking hot – super, sizzling hot, about 8 – 10 minutes. Remove the pan frm the oven and Carefully pour the custard mixture of milk, flour, and eggs into the sizzling hot drippings.

Replace the rectangle dish back into the oven to cook at 450 for another 10 minutes or until it reaches your preferred pudding texture. You can make it as chewing or as crisp as you like. When it’s done it’ll look like…

Once the yorkshire pudding was out of the oven, we de-tented the short ribs and carrots, poured the reduced sauce over the top, added basic mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus to the mix, and sat down to an awesome Christmas dinner.