Friday, December 18, 2009

A British Holiday Feast: Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce, Yorkshire Pudding and Minted Peas

This is my first ever Christmas spent in my own home, and not wanting to tempt fate, I decided to do a Christmas dinner test run. I’ve been pouring over my old issues of Domino (RIP my beloved) looking for decorating ideas, and I stumbled upon an old article about a British dinner party. It sounded perfect – standing rib roast with horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, minted peas and gingered carrots.
So I headed to Whole Foods, the place I figured was most likely to have standing rib roast. I didn’t see any in the display, but when I asked the guy said he had some in back. Great, right? So I went about finding the other ingredients while the butcher worked his magic. I returned to grab the 3 ribs I’d requested (my recipe called for 5, but I was just cooking for Mr. AT and myself so I scaled back). I was about to go check out when I looked down and realized that my rather large package of rib roast was going to cost me $87. Whaaaaaaaaaaat??? I almost cried. Seriously. After frantic calls to my mother and Mr. AT asking what I should do (yes, I still call my mother for things like this!), I got up the nerve to go back and give a rib back. $59 bucks later I left Whole Foods as the proud and somewhat disgruntled owner of 2 ribs. That is not a mistake I will EVER make again. That price was bananas. Fortunately I hear Costco is the way to go so I guess that’s what test runs are for.
After spending all of that money, I was determined not to botch these recipes. Fortunately they were pretty fool proof. I always thought meals like this were only for special occasions because they were hard to do, but now I realize it’s because they’re time consuming and really damned expensive! The meat component of the meal couldn’t be any easier – it’s just salt and pepper and proper roasting time. I tried to guesstimate how much less time 2 ribs would take than the 5 in my recipe, but in the end I was way off, and I just kept checking on it until it reached 125 degrees.
Minted peas were also a revelation. This recipe is a take on the classic British dish, mushy peas. I prefer my peas unmushy, so this was perfect.  I virtually never purchase frozen vegetables, but these were awfully good and so easy. Who knew frozen peas, mint and butter could be so good? Because these recipes were in a now defunct magazine, i don’t have online versions of them, so I found recipes online that approximated them. The one I provide below uses olive oil, whereas I used butter. I’m sure it’s great either way.
This biggest unknown was Yorkshire Pudding. I for one would never have guessed that Yorkshire Pudding is actually much like a popover. But even better, it’s a popover made in the beef juices from the roast. Could there be anything more delicious? Little sister had warned me that her past attempts to make this recipe had not turned out, so I was wary, especially because I was cutting down the serving size from the recipe significantly. In the end, the center of my pudding fell a bit, and the bottom center was a bit too soggy with juices, but all around the center, the pudding was fluffy and so yummy. Perfect for sopping up juices from your plate! I think I just always pictured Yorkshire Pudding being some sort of dessert, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn the truth!
In the end, it was quite a repast for a random Sunday evening. Two ribs lasted us 2 full dinners, so I suppose that works out $15 bucks a head a meal – not cheap, but not much worse than buying a nice steak at the store and certainly cheaper than going out for a comparable meal. I was quite proud of myself, and I suspect this meal would impress anyone you might make it for. So elaborate and flavorful and filling! Now I just have to find a meat purveyor that won’t send me to the poor house!

Sunday Rib Roast2002 Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All rights reserved

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 (3-rib) standing rib roast (7 to 8 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Mustard Horseradish Sauce, recipe follows


Two hours before roasting, remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (see note).
Place the oven rack on the second lowest position.
Place the roast in a pan large enough to hold it comfortably, bone-side down, and spread the top thickly with the salt and pepper. Roast the meat for 45 minutes. Without removing the meat from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for another 30 minutes. Finally, increase the temperature to 450 degrees F and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meat is 125 degrees F. (Be sure the thermometer is exactly in the center of the roast.) The total cooking time will be between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
Remove the roast from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the sauce.
Note: Be sure your oven is very clean before setting it at 500 degrees F.
Mustard Horseradish Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustards, horseradish, sour cream, and salt in a small bowl.

Yorkshire PuddingRecipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and milk until light and foamy. Stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Pour the drippings into a 9-inch pie pan, cast iron skillet, or square baking dish. Put the pan in oven and get the drippings smoking hot. Carefully take the pan out of the oven and pour in the batter. Put the pan back in oven and cook until puffed and dry, 15 to 20 minutes.

Green Peas with MintCopyright, 2005, Robin Miller, All rights reserved

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Serves: 4 servings


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cups frozen green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peas and cook 2 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add salt and pepper and stir to coat. Remove from heat and stir in mint.



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