I like to make something a little special on Sunday nights, something that takes a little bit longer and maybe requires a slightly nicer bottle of wine to go with it. Having never made a roast before, I thought that this would be a good time to start. I found a recipe for a standing rib roast in my “Nigella Kitchen” cookbook. It looked yummy that I ignored the fact that it fed 8 to 10 people…maybe I will have a lot of leftovers for sandwiches, I thought to myself. Or I could always halve the recipe. As there was no standing rib roast to be had at Fred Mayer (unsurprisingly), we made the trek to A&J Meats on Queen Anne, our go-to butcher for slightly less common cuts of meat. The recipe called for 8 lbs of meat. At $12.99 a pound, this would not do. Yes, I have been known to spend more on food and wine than I do on clothes and books but, this was beyond the pale. I went for 4 lbs and left the butcher $60 lighter but excited to see what I could do to justify the purchase, namely make something that didn’t give me the dreaded buyer’s remorse.
The recipe is fairly simple. After letting the meat come to room temp for 2 hours, I massaged it with a paste made from a teaspoon and a half each of truffle oil and garlic oil, 2 teaspoons of dry English mustard and a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. I then set it in a roasting pan with some sliced up leak, a couple tablespoons of marsala wine and the stems from the mushrooms for the sauce (I will get to that later). Following the butcher’s cooking instructions, I cooked it at 450 degrees for 20 min and then reduced the temp to 350 for about an hour for medium rare.
While that was cooking away and smelling soooo good (I LOVE truffle oil!), I drank a glass of wine, watched the cooking channel and prepared the mushrooms. I halved this recipe as well, sautéing 1/2 of a leek in some butter and garlic oil and adding about 2 lbs assorted wild mushrooms when the leeks were soft (about 10-15 min). I also added more butter (2 tablespoons) and a teaspoon of dried thyme along with the mushrooms, cooked for 5 min covered, stirred and added salt and pepper, cooked for 5 minutes covered, added 1/4 cup marsala wine, stirred and cooked for a final 5 minutes covered. At this point I let the mushroom sauce sit off the heat, covered until the roast came out.
When the roast read 120 degrees at its center, I took it out and set it on a cutting board for 30 min where it would continue cooking to a perfect medium rare. While it was sitting, I added the cooking juices to the mushroom sauce and mashed some Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 lbs) with whole milk and cheddar cheese. When the roast was ready to cut, I added the juices that had accumulated on the cutting board to the sauce and while Andy carved, warmed up the sauce again.
And let me say…it was completely worth the $60. The meat was succulent and permeated with subtle flavor from the rub, pink in the middle with a beautiful crust on the outside. The mushroom sauce was slightly sweet (from the Marsala), perfectly complimenting the meatiness of the roast. I could have eaten that on its own but it went to well with the meat that now it would seem a crime not to pair it with this exquisite roast. In the end, I managed to not screw up my first roast and am looking forward to steak sandwiches with blue cheese and watercress and a yummy leftover dinner tonight…with mushrooms on the side of course.