I've always been very fond of prime rib roasts. There's something primal and unvarnished about a large slab of meat that's simply salted and baked until tender. It speaks to the savage part of me that likes my steaks rare and my fish raw.
The problem with prime rib roasts tends to be the cost. Those sexy hunks of beefcake don't come small or cheap. Unless you feed a family of twenty every night, prime rib roasts are impractical to make at home. On the other hand, one twelve-ounce serving can run you as much as $30 in a restaurant
This Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef recipe is my way of getting that great, prime rib taste by using a similar preparation on a cheaper cut of meat. I like using organic, free-range, grass-fed beef for its superb flavor and texture. The shoulder clod roast is my cut of choice because it's both inexpensive and works very well with high-heat roasting techniques.
Recipe for Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef
1 roasting pan (rack optional)
1 paring knife
1 probe or meat thermometer
Aluminum or tin foil
Ingredients (Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef):
2 lbs shoulder clod roast (I prefer grass-fed, free-range, and organic.)
8-12 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (preferably Canola)
Prep work (Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef):
Peel and clean the garlic. Set aside.
Rinse the roast and pat dry. Using the paring knife, make 1/2-inch deep incisions, evenly spaced along the top of the roast. The number of cuts should equal the number of garlic cloves.
Coat the roast with the vegetable oil. Push each garlic cloves deeply into its slot, pointy end first. Pat the salt into the top of the roast.
Sprinkle the pepper on top. Insert the meat thermometer diagonally into the roast stopping halfway through.
Instructions (Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef):
Place one rack one-third of the way up from the bottom of your oven. Remove all of the other racks. Set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the oven has reached 425 degrees Fahrenheit, place the roast inside.
I prefer my beef medium-rare, whereas Cat likes hers well-done. I compromise by cooking our roasts medium-well.
When the thermometer reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the roast from the oven. I like to use the rack from my toaster oven to catch the drippings, but that's optional.
Loosely cover with tin foil and let rest for 15-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the roast stops climbing. You'll probably get another 5-10 degrees of carryover cooking.
Shoulder clod roasts come pre-trimmed and tied from most butchers. Remember to carefully remove the strings after the roast has rested. They can be rather chewy if you forget.
I like nice thick slices of roast beef, so I cut mine about a centimeter thick. If you like your roast beef thinner, let it cool down more. It'll be easier to carve.
Recipe for Pan Dripping Beef Gravy
Pan the beef was roasted in
Ingredients (Pan Dripping Beef Gravy):
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups of beef stock, beef broth, or water (unsalted stock preferred)
Dripping from roast.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Prep work (Pan Dripping Beef Gravy):
Collect the drippings from the roast's resting period.
Instructions (Pan Dripping Beef Gravy):
Melt the butter in the roasting pan over medium heat. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to dislodge any caramelized bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the butter stops foaming, stir in the flour. The roux will be pasty at first, become very fluid, and then thicken up again slightly. Cook the flour until it turns a rich, golden color.
Slowly stir in the cold beef stock and pan drippings to fully incorporate them into the roux. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. The gravy won't fully thicken until the flour cooks for a while, so drop the heat to medium low and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. I usually don't need to add any, given the amount of salt and pepper already present from the pan drippings.
Recipe for Baked Potatoes
Ingredients (Baked Potatoes):
2-3 medium Russet potatoes (one for each person)
Prep work (Baked Potatoes):
Scrub the potatoes under cold water. Pat dry and dock with the fork. Try to put at least four sets of holes on each side, evenly spaced.
Instructions (Baked Potatoes):
Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time you put in the roast. They can go directly on the rack. Make sure there's at least two inches of space between each one. The potatoes will be ready when the roast is done. Let the potatoes rest for 15-30 minutes as well, then cut a slit lengthwise along the top and push in at either end with your fingers. This will open up the potato and give them a nice look when serving.
Since both the Garlic Peppercorn Roast Beef and the gravy are strongly flavored, I like to enjoy this meal with the baked potato and a simple, undressed green salad.