Anatomy of a Christmas Dinner

Rosemary-And-Pepper Standing Rib Roast With Two-Mushroom Pan Sauce, Roasted Root Vegetables and Harvard Beets

It was Christmas day.


Three days earlier I bought a 3 rib, 8-pound Prime Rib of Beef at Golden Gate Meat Company. That big beauty was air drying in the refrigerator. The recipe I had selected to roast it called for 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves and I had overlooked that small item. I didn’t have enough shallots, either. The only store open on Christmas day was Safeway (until 4 p.m.), so I went. No thyme, no shallots. I asked the produce guy and he said, “It’s Christmas, the warehouse is closed.” Hmmm, I bought a bunch of rosemary.

When I got home, I looked on for another recipe. I found Rosemary-And-Pepper Standing Rib Roast With Two-Mushroom Pan Sauce; rated 4-forks with three cooks raving about its goodness. Worth a try, and I had a package of dried Porcini mushrooms, but no fresh mushrooms. Back to Safeway. There were three empty risers in the place where the fresh mushrooms live. I looked for canned mushrooms, but not with any enthusiasm; I didn’t find them. I could live with that, it’s only the gravy.

I’m not a big fan of epicurious. Often, what I find there are good ideas, but faulty recipes. In this case, I needed to substitute ingredients, but I felt like the concept was strong enough to carry me through. So here is the recipe, with my notes [in italics] of how I cooked it.

Cooked for 06 Christmas dinner with Paula & John — A bit overcooked, but darned good, I made many revisions, of necessity.

Rosemary-And-Pepper Standing Rib Roast With Two-Mushroom Pan Sauce

Standing rib roast is a special event; it’s also surprisingly easy to make. This version gets a spice rub and a rich, earthy sauce that can be largely made ahead.

1 well-trimmed 8- to 9-pound rib roast (with 4 bones) [I used 3 bone 8 pounder from Golden Gate Meat]
6 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary, divided [4t, 2 1/2t, I used fresh rosemary] [Why can’t they say how it’s divided in the list of ingredients?]
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided [1/2C, 2T]

2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms [A package of dried porcini is 1/2 ounce. Seemed like enuf, and that’s all I had.]

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature, divided [2T, 2T]
10 ounces fresh button mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices [Didn’t have any fresh mushrooms and Safeway was out and nothing else was open. Left ‘em out]
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups low-salt beef broth
3/4 cup dry red wine

2 bunches fresh rosemary (for garnish)

Place rib roast, fat side up, in heavy roasting pan. [This instruction is way out of order.] Mix 4 teaspoons crushed rosemary, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup oil. Rub mixture all over roast. Can be made 1 day ahead. [I didn’t do ahead, but that would be good] Cover and chill. [My meat was already chilled, and I didn’t have time to chill again.] Let stand at room temperature 45 minutes before roasting.

Combine 2 cups boiling water and porcini; let soak until mushrooms soften, about 20 minutes. Strain soaking liquid through fine strainer set over measuring cup; reserve porcini. If needed, add enough water to soaking liquid to measure 1 cup. Coarsely chop porcini.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with remaining 2 tablespoons oil [Used 1T butter and 1T oil, since I didn’t have mushrooms to brown and suck up moisture.] in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms; sauté until browned, about 6 minutes. [skipped that] Add porcini and garlic; stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed rosemary in small bowl; mash with fork to smooth paste. DO AHEAD Porcini soaking liquid, mushroom mixture, and flour-butter mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

Place oven rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 °F. [Based on experience and other recipes, I started at 450 for 30 minutes and then reduced to 350] Place rib roast, fat side up, in heavy roasting pan. [I used our never-used non-stick roasting pan from Dansk that we got on sale. Excellent. EZ to clean.] Cook roast until instant-read thermometer inserted straight down into top center of roast registers 125 °F to 130 °F for medium-rare, about 2 hours 30 minutes. [I took out at 122 ° and the temperature soared to 147 ° while it rested, overcooked. Take out at 115 °]

Transfer roast to platter; cover loosely with foil and let rest 35 to 40 minutes. Skim any fat from top of pan juices (there will be a small amount of pan drippings); reserve juices in pan. [In the pan was almost all fat. I poured that off.]


Set roasting pan atop 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add reserved 1 cup porcini soaking liquid, broth, and wine; bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add mushroom mixture, then butter-flour mixture; whisk constantly over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. [My sauce was good and seemed to have enough mushrooms (see notes above). Seems to me that if I used all of the mushrooms called for, I would have a side dish of mushrooms, not a sauce.]

Garnish roast on platter with fresh rosemary sprigs. Slice roast and serve, passing mushroom sauce separately.

Makes 8 servings.

Bon Appétit
December 2006

100% would make this recipe again

kaicooks from Lake Worth, FL on 2006-12-19 15:47:06.0
Excellent recipe, rave reviews. Simple, tasty and savory. My entire family loved it…and a few of them don’t particularly like mushrooms. Definitely make this one again!!

allansmess from Illinois on 2006-12-15 10:45:55.0
An excellent recipe and an outstanding sauce. I’ve never liked this cut of meat, but after this recipe, its a new favorite

A Cook from Winnetka, IL on 2006-11-14 21:53:05.0
A great dish! The recipe instructions were perfect; it was easy to make and it turned out delicious! Will make it again!

I thought of making a comment at, but I just had too much to say. Needless to say, I did not think the recipe instructions were perfect, especially the one on internal temperature. But the roast was good and will be better next time. We served it with roasted root vegetables (see below) and Harvard Beets.


When I was looking for a recipe for roasted vegetables, I looked at Bouchon, by Thomas Keller, as well as Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio. The Colicchio recipe was better suited to my needs, but Thomas Keller, in a recipe for Glazed Vegetables, instructed me to “,give them a beautiful finish by ‘turning’ them (tourner) into an oval shape,”

Roasted Root Vegetables
Adapted from the recipe Roasted Duck, Root Vegetables, and Apples in the cookbook Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio

His recipe is for parsnips, leeks, carrots, fennel, turnips, pearl onions and—holy moly—apples (he’s doing it with duck breast).
You can make your own choice.

Cooked for 06 Christmas dinner — Quite good. Licked the platter clean. I did this while the roast beef was resting.

I happened to have fingerling potatoes, red turnips, yellow turnips, leeks, carrots and an apple. Sliced potatoes lengthwise and parboiled from cold water to boil and then 5 minutes. Started other vegetables with 1/2 inch julienne before “turning.” They were overcooked. Start with 3/4 inch julienne.

Heat the oven to 375. Cut the vegetables into lengths, 1/2 by 3 inches [do 3/4 by 2 for “turning”]. Heat duck fat (or oil or butter) [Used duck fat and butter] in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking dish in a single layer.

Roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Quarter the apples and add them to the vegetables and roast about 5 minutes more. [Apple basically raw. Core, quarter and make 1/4 inch slices.]


Champagne Poached Pears for dessert.
Bon Appetite and Happy Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s