It may seem unusual to discuss prime rib the week after Christmas, but in our family we have lasagna on Christmas day, and a free for all each Christmas eve. So prime rib is something I make when I find a good deal, which can typically happen right after the holidays. Although prime rib is expensive, it is not as bad as filet mignon and much more juicy. More importantly, by using all the meat, bone and juices you can create 3 separate of meals out of one 4-5 pound prime rib (beef dinner, beef soup and also a casserole).
Some people get intimidated by the price tag, and worry that it is difficult to make a good Prime Rib roast. I think it is hard to make a bad one! It is so amazingly easy to cook, you really only need to salt and pepper the roast and throw it into a warm oven, make sure not to overcook and it will taste great. I just have a few little tricks I do to enhance the flavor and make a luscious gravy.
Large roasting pan or Dutch oven
Fine mesh to strain the gravy
Good carving knife
4-5 lb. bone in prime rib roast (2-3 ribs)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 large white onion
1 small beef stock (I use Kitchen basics) or 2 cups water
Ingredients for Gravy:
6 ice cubes
2-4 tbsp Wondra flour
Splash red wine (optional)
Cup of starchy potato water or cold tap water
5 sliced mushrooms or 2 shallots sliced thinly (optional)
Tip: I always choose a bone-in roast so that there are bones to use for soup in the future. I make the soup that day or the next day, or cover the bones with aluminum foil and freeze it until next I make a beef broth. Having the bones will also insulate the meat, allowing the meat next to the bones to be more juicy.
Cover the beef in the olive oil, rubbing it in with clean hands. Combine the salt, pepper and thyme in a small dish, stir around with your finger then drop on the beef by dropping from your hand held high above the beef so the seasoning goes on evenly. It will look like too much seasoning, but it’s not. You want enough seasoning to flavor the meat and help flavor the drippings later.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel the onion and slice it horizontally into 3 flat similar height pieces to use for resting the beef on top. Place the onions in the bottom of the pan or Dutch oven.
Tip: To include onion in your roasting pan will not only prevent the bottom of the beef from burning, but also adds lovely flavor to the pan gravy and can add sweet flavoring as a side dish or to a soup or casserole.
Lay the browned beef on top of the onions and place in the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
Secret: After that first 30 minutes pour in half of the beef stock or 1 cup of water over the meat, it encourages the beef to give off some flavorful drippings and keeps the pan moist.
Set another timer for 30 minutes. After that next 30 minutes pour more stock and water over the beef and take an internal temperature. You probably need another 20-40 minutes to get it up to temp. I like my meat at internal temperature of 145 degrees (considered medium but it actually has a lot of pink at that temp). Leave the beef on the cut board with an aluminum tent over the top for 15-20 minutes so that the juices are redistributed into the meat and don’t get wasted on the board (but whatever does seep out, pour into the pan of drippings).
Tip: After you have rested the beef, you can brown the outside of the meat in a pan if it doesn’t have a nice caramelization. I used to brown the outside before roasting the beef, but it made the meat unevenly cooked.
While the beef is resting, work on the gravy. Add a few ice cubes to the dripping and pour in some red wine (you want to only add in flour when the liquid is cool or warm or you risk lumps). Sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons Wondra flour and put the stove top on medium-low heat. Stir with a spatula or whisk, and see if the gravy is thickening. If not getting thick enough, add another 2 tbsp of the Wondra flour.
Cook off the alcohol by turning up the heat to medium high and letting it bubble for 5 minutes, then put the gravy on low until ready to serve. If you are going to add mushrooms, pour the gravy through a fine mesh sieve first, return the gravy to the pan and add in the mushrooms or shallots and warm them through for 10 minutes. Taste the gravy for flavoring, you may want to add some salt, but I usually find it is flavor enough without further seasoning.
Slice the prime rib, serve up the gravy and pour a bit on the sliced meat.
Tip: To carve the prime rib, first cut the meat off of the bone, then make slices.