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 Roast

Green Peas with Mint

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...