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Serve an elegant rib roast at your next holiday gathering

Serve an elegant rib roast at your next holiday gathering

The holidays are here! That usually means at least one special celebratory meal.

What more elegant way to entertain than to serve a classic rib roast? This recipe from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association provides a French-inspired recipe that can be on the table in under four hours.

Beef Rib Roast with Red Wine Cherry Sauce

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons minced shallots, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1⅛ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, divided
6- to 8-pound beef rib roast, bone-in (2 to 4 ribs), small end, backbone removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth, divided
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 2 tablespoons shallots, 2 tablespoons thyme and 1 teaspoon pepper; and press evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast.

In a shallow roasting pan, place the roast fat-side-up. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer so the tip is centered in the thickest part of the roast, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water or cover. Roast for 2¼ to 2½ hours for medium rare; 2½ to 3 hours for medium.

While the roast is cooking, prepare the red wine cherry sauce. In a large nonstick skillet, warm butter over medium heat until melted. Add remaining ¼ cup shallots and 1 teaspoon thyme; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until shallots are tender and begin to turn golden. Add ¾ cup broth, wine and cherries to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until reduced to 1½ cups.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup broth and cornstarch; whisk into the wine mixture. Stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Cook 1-2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Season with salt as desired.

Remove the roast when meat thermometer registers 135° for medium rare; 145° for medium. Transfer roast to a carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Carve the roast into slices; season with salt as desired. Serve with the sauce.

Beef rib roasts aren’t the only option

A traditional pork rib roast or rack of pork is the equivalent of a standing beef rib roast, and a whole leg of lamb on the bone is an iconic Sunday dinner roast. Either of these make show-stopping centerpieces for special dinners. For your next celebratory meal, try the following recipes from the National Pork Board and the American Lamb Board.

Herbed Pork Ribeye Roast with Cauliflower

1 ribeye pork roast (8-rib rack of pork)
4 teaspoons dried thyme
¼ cup fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons pepper
8 cups cauliflower florets
4 shallots, sliced
3 slices bacon cut into ¼” slices
1 cup chardonnay wine, or apple juice
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 shallots, finely diced 
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 10 or 12 pieces
additional salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Arrange one oven rack in the lower third of the oven and one in the upper third.

In a small bowl, combine thyme, salt and pepper. Set 2 teaspoons of herb mixture aside, then sprinkle remaining mixture over all sides of the pork. In a shallow roasting pan, place pork fat-side-up and then place the pan on the lower rack in the oven; roast until the internal temperature reaches between 145° and 160°, 1½-1¾ hours.

About 30 minutes before the pork is done, in a large bowl combine cauliflower, sliced shallots and reserved herb mixture. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, and scatter bacon on top. Place the baking sheet on the upper rack in the oven, and roast until cauliflower is tender and bacon is browned, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a chardonnay butter sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine wine, cream and diced shallots and bring to a boil. Cook; stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter, 2 or 3 pieces at a time, waiting until the pieces are melted before adding more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm, set aside.

Remove the roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes (The cauliflower will continue cooking; it should be done about when the roast is finished resting).

Slice the roast between the rib bones. Serve drizzled with the pan juices, and with the cauliflower and sauce on the side.

Buttermilk Braised Leg of Lamb

2 sliced medium onions
6 smashed cloves of garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon piment d’espellette or paprika
5-6-pound leg of lamb, bone-in
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. In the bottom of an enamel-covered cast iron lidded pan or Dutch oven, place sliced onions, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf. Cover onions, garlic and herbs with olive oil and piment d’esplette or paprika. Place lamb on top of the onions, fatty side up. Cover with buttermilk, water, salt and pepper. Put on the lid, and bake for 3-4 hours until meat is fork-tender and juicy.

If liquid appears low, add a touch more water. Milk solids in buttermilk will curdle. Skim them off the finished braise, if desired, although they are edible.

Allow the meat to rest in its juices for 15 minutes before slicing. Ladle a bit of onions and broth over top of sliced meat before serving.