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 Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Meat Solutions, which produces the Sterling Silver brand of meat. His belief: A big, beautiful cut of meat provides the centerpiece for an indulgent and impressive holiday meal, he said.
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“It’s Christmastime. You might as well splurge and just make it a memorable meal,” he said.
Recently, Geoghegan demonstrated how to prepare one of his favorite recipes: 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 that was beautifully complimented by the sweet and sour onions on top.
The preparation was simple and required only a few common kitchen tools. But Geoghegan said that for some home cooks, knowing which cut of meat to ask for at the store is the most difficult part of the meal.
He recommends buying a 3-pound cut of 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, you should 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
1/8 cup olive oil
Sweet onion marmalade
3 sweet yellow onions, sliced
Light brown sugar, 1/4 cup
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Season the prime rib to taste with kosher salt and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper.
Place prime rib roast fat side up on a cooking rack in roasting pan or baking dish; place in oven.
Reduce heat to 275 after 15 minutes.
While the rib meat cooks, prepare marmalade.
Slice onions and chop parsley.
In sauté 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; for approximately 10 to 15 minutes cook 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.
To achieve medium rare doneness, cook for approximately 2 hours or until internal temperature of ribs reaches 135 degrees. Adjust cooking times as desired for higher or lower internal meat temperatures.
After cooking, remove meat from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Slice meat across grain and serve with onion marmalade. Serves 4 to 6.