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For many families, serving prime rib for Christmas or New Year’s has become a tradition, but what if you want a discreet little prime rib dinner for two? The simple answer might be, “head for a local steak house.”
But if you have an overwhelming desire for that warm, succulent, rare prime rib at home, you’ll need a small piece of meat. Preparing a small roast with that desired salty, crusty, flavorful outside and beautifully rare inside is almost impossible if you use the conventional oven method.
But be not dismayed! There are actually two solutions to the problem. First, ask your favorite butcher to cut you one rib of a beef rib roast, about two pounds worth. Once you take it home, you’ll have two choices.
Prime rib from frozen
The first choice is to wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze it. It must be wrapped and frozen because it must be cooked frozen. An hour or two before you want to eat, take it out and rub it all over with garlic paste and a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then, stand the roast up in a baking pan, propped against two scrubbed and oiled baking potatoes, one on either side. Roast at 400 degrees in a pre-heated oven for one hour and 25 minutes for rare; 10 minutes longer for medium rare. Let it stand for five minutes before carving, to allow the juices to settle. You have now prepared a delicious prime rib and baked potatoes for two. Now, wasn’t that simple?
Lying-down rib roast
Your second choice, and my favorite, is to pan-sear the rib roast in a cast-iron skillet for a couple of minutes on each side. Then, a short stay in the oven will yield a perfect roast ranging from medium at the edges to a delicious warm, pink at the center. Compared to the traditional way of roasting, be assured that a lying-down rib roast tastes just as good.
Serve your prime rib with some oven roasted asparagus (recipe follows) and some baked potatoes.
Roast Prime Rib for Two
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet to brown the roast in, then transfer the meat to a baking dish before placing in the oven.
1 rib of prime beef roast (about 2 lbs.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Allow the rib roast to come to room temperature prior to roasting. This will allow the roast to cook evenly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the rib with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the rib. Cook on one side until it is browned and releases easily, about 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side, about 2 minutes longer.
Once the rib is browned, spread the garlic paste over the meat with a knife. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 25-35 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 125-130 degrees for rare, 135-140 degrees for medium rare and 145-150 degrees for medium. Don’t even consider well done! When the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove from the oven and let stand for several minutes prior to carving.
Roasted Asparagus with Tarragon Brie Sauce
The addition of the tarragon Brie sauce adds a flavorful dimension to this tasty dish.
18-24 fresh asparagus spears, cut into one-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsps. lemon juice
In a medium bowl, toss asparagus and red pepper with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 12 minutes; allow to cool.
Combine evaporated milk, flour, tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken. Add Brie and continue to stir until melted. Add lemon juice and cook for one more minute, stirring occasionally.
Place cooked asparagus and red peppers on a serving plate and spoon the tarragon Brie sauce over them. Makes 4 servings.
Sometimes referred to as 8-hour mushrooms, these are great for parties or large get-togethers.
4 lbs. small button mushrooms
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 bottle dry red wine
2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dill seeds
4-5 whole garlic cloves (peeled and cleaned)
Add all above ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6 hours. Remove cover and continue to simmer for 2 more hours or until the liquid has been reduced to one cup. Makes about 10-12 servings.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at email@example.com.