The Vitals:
recipe: Prime Rib Holiday Dinner
difficulty: Easy. Seems intimidating but the technique is nearly fool proof with the right equipment.
health rating: indulgent. It’s the Holidays after all.
time: Prime Rib: 4 hours including cooking time and prep. the roast has to be seasoned the night before.
Mashed Potatoes: 30 min. Creamed Spinach: 30 minutes

Cooking turkey is a big fat pain. There I said it. And this is coming from a guy who literally did a Thanksgiving cooking demo a few weeks ago. Maybe that’s why I was burnt out on the idea of more poultry for the Ultimate eating holiday but I have always been one to change things up for Thanksgiving. In years past I have had fun with cornbread and sausage or bacon and oysters when it comes to the stuffing game. And I am a big fan of dry brining though for my Thanksgiving demo I did a wet brine with a Mexican twist. Still, even with all the tips and tricks I have accumulated over the years, no roast turkey recipe can compare to the ease and glory that is the Almighty Prime Rib. This is how to absolutely nail it + a few recipes for sides.

ingredients

    • 3 bone Standing rib roast (about 6 pounds, I got USDA Choice)
    • Kosher Salt
    • Fresh Ground Pepper
    • salt and pepper to taste

essential equipment

    • roasting probe thermometer(I recommend Thermowork’s line)
    • wired baking rack
    • roasting pan
    • good carving knife(that has been recently sharpened by a professional!)

I went with The Reverse Sear Method from Serious Eats’s J. Kenji Lopez. He is a food scientist as much as a chef, constantly tweaking recipes to find the “perfect cook”. It basically comes down to cooking the roast low and slow until it hits the desired internal cooking temp. Afterwards you remove the roast from the oven, crank the heat and pop the roast back in to get a nice crust. I set off a few smoke alarms but it was worth it for this:

Coast to coast red with a sea of juices. If you like it more done, cook it longer but no matter what you will get an even cook. Here’s the step by step break down.

    • Remove the standing rib roast from any packaging the night before, pat dry and season generously with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I like to set my grinder to the coarsest setting possible. Set the roast on a wired baking rack over a baking sheet and keep in the fridge until its time to roast. It’s important to use a wired baking rack to allow air to circulate. This is how you get a great crust.
    • Take the roast out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature at least an hour before you plan on cooking it.
    • Preheat the over to 225 degrees. Big note here: not every oven is calibrated correctly. Mine ran hot so in order to get the temp right I had to play with the dial a bit. I use a Thermoworks Smoke 2-Channel remote with dual probes(one for the oven and one for the roast). Definitely a worthy investment and this ain’t a paid plug!
    • Pop that roast in the oven(with a trustworthy probe thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the roast) and cook till an internal temp of 125-130 for medium rare. Pull the roast when it hits that temp. My 6 pound roast took about 2.5 hours give or take. I rely on temp not time and you should too!
    • Crank oven to at least 500 degrees(most dont go past 550) and pull it anywhere from 5 to no more than 10 minutes. You should have the probe thermometer to guide you as well. I wouldn’t dare let that roast soar past 135. Remember it will continue to cook after it leaves the oven
    • Let that roast rest on the carving board, carve the bones off and start making friends fast!

Sides

Creamed Spinach

    • 2 bags baby spinach
    • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 1/4 stick of butter
    • pinch of nutmeg
    • salt and pepper to taste

There are loads of over the top creamed spinach recipes that call for Parmesan and even cream cheese. Chill on that. Go simple and let the cream take your leafy green to a place of indulgence. Start by dropping the spinach in boiling water until it wilts(like a matter of seconds) and chopping it in a food processor before setting aside.

Separately in a sauce pan, melt the butter just before it browns and add the onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add the spinach and mix well. Soon after add the half and half and simmer till a desired consistency. The saucier it is, the more it functions as a sauce, not a bad proposition.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg for a little aromatic lift. Serve at once.

Damn Good Mashed Potatoes

    • 5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
    • 4 sticks of unsalted butter, cubed
    • salt and white pepper to taste

I like Yukon Golds for mashed potatoes and all I need is a good masher and plenty of butter. Start by peeling the potatoes if you like and boil them till tender(I test with a carving fork and usually it takes somewhere between 20-30 minutes of boil/simmering)

Once tender, drain and introduce the cubed butter in batches, mashing the whole time. Season with salt and white pepper. Easy and damn good if you aren’t afraid to go deep with the butter.

It is the holidays after all . . .

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