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A Christmas roast is well within skill set of most cooks


    A medium-rare roast emerges from the oven with a peppery crust.

It’s time to plan Christmas dinner, and you’re so over turkey.

A dramatic hunk of beef would be nice. But what to buy? How to prepare it? What if you spend all that money and then ruin it?

Chef Peter Geoghegan says the first step is to take a deep breath. You can, in fact, do this, he says. And it’s far more simple than you think.

Geoghegan is a chef with Cargill Meat Solutions, which produces the Sterling Silver brand of meat common in grocery stores. His belief: A big, beautiful cut of meat provides the centerpiece for an indulgent and impressive holiday meal, he said.

“It’s Christmastime. You might as well splurge and just make it a memorable meal,” he said.

Among his favorite preparations is a roasted black pepper prime rib roast with sweet onion marmalade. His finished product yielded thick slices of medium rare rib-eye steaks with a peppery crust, beautifully complemented by the sweet-and-sour onions on top.

The preparation was simple, but Geoghegan said that for some home cooks, knowing which cut of meat to ask for at the store is the most difficult part.

He recommends buying a 3-pound cut of Sterling Silver boneless prime rib. This time of year, many stores will have that cut ready to go in the meat case, but don’t be afraid to ask the butcher to prepare one.

Expect to spend around $60 for a 3-pounder, which will feed a family of six to eight.

Another key step: Ask the butcher to tie the roast for you. Doing so ensures that all parts of the meat will be exposed to the same amount of heat for the same amount of time and cook evenly.

Also, Geoghegan said, one of the most important ingredients in his recipe is patience. To ensure the most tender, juicy meat, let the roast sit out on the counter, covered, for about an hour before cooking so that a cold piece of meat isn’t shocked by the heat of the oven, which can cause it to lose moisture.

Also, when the meat is done, Geoghegan said, it’s important to let it sit on the counter covered with foil for about 15 minutes. This is called “resting” the meat.

“What that’s going to do is relax it so when you slice it you don’t lose all that juice,” he said “If you cut it right away, it’s going to lose all that moisture.”

Finally, he said, cook the meat on a rack so it gets an even crust all the way around, even on the bottom. And make sure you have a meat thermometer so you know when to pull it out of the oven for a perfectly merry medium rare.

Roasted Black Pepper Prime Rib With Sweet Onion Marmalade

  • 3-pound boneless prime rib, tied
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • >> Sweet onion marmalade:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 sweet yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Chopped Italian parsley, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Season roast with kosher salt and plenty of pepper. Place fat side up on a cooking rack in roasting pan or baking dish; place in oven.

Reduce heat to 275 degrees after 15 minutes.

To prepare marmalade: In saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil and sliced onions. Cook onions until lightly browned.

Add brown sugar and parsley. Continue cooking until onions are golden brown.

Add vinegar and water; cook 10 to 15 minutes, until onions are soft and most of liquid has evaporated. Stir often to prevent burning.

When onions are thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and keep warm as roast cooks.

To achieve medium-rare doneness, cook approximately 2 hours, or to an internal temperature of 135 degrees. Adjust cooking times for rare or well-done meat.

Remove roast from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice meat across grain and serve with onion marmalade. Serves 4-6.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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