When I think of all the food my daddy loved best, “one-potters” and steak, specifically prime rib, are at the top. Daddy first introduced me to prime rib when I was about 8 years old. This wasn’t something we had very often because of the expense, so it was a true treat when we’d have it at home. I have ordered prime rib from steak house menus all over the country for as long as I can remember, but nothing has ever come close to the smell that wafted through our house when a 6lb rib roast was in the oven, smothered in a horseradish crust. Incidentally, my love affair with horseradish also began about this same time. Prime rib roast plus fresh horseradish equals dinner heaven … especially for Christmas dinner.
When my husband and I got married, family Christmases didn’t change too much. We had a gathering with extended family, spent Christmas Eve with my parents and grandparents, and spent Christmas Day with my parents-in-law. While food was a large part of the gatherings, it wasn’t exactly central to any one of them at that point in my life.
After our daughter was born, all of that changed. I vowed that she would be raised like I had been … Christmas Eve spent with family and Christmas Day spent at home where food would be as central a part of the day as Santa’s delivery. Even though we spend Christmas day at home now, both sets of Grandparents arrive mid-afternoon for dinner … just like when I was growing up. After agonizing over the perfect dinner that first year, I decided to go back to my roots and prepare something that we all loved … something that I could fix every year without agony. What did I pick? Prime Rib, of course! Although it takes awhile to prepare, it is relatively simple and can be accompanied by a large variety of side dishes. Just don’t forget your favorite red wine … and sauteed mushrooms … and fresh horseradish … oh, my!
The first time Daddy had Prime Rib at my house for Christmas dinner, he told me I shouldn’t have gone to all that expense. However, the smile on his face was worth every penny … every single one of them. The next year, he said the same thing, and the year after that, too. His smile was always worth it. As I prepared dinner the first Christmas I spent without Daddy, I remembered how happy that meal had made him, and I was happy he had enjoyed it for so many years sitting around my dining room table. I will always be very thankful I could cook something that made him smile so big and enjoy Christmas dinner so much.
Prime Rib Recipe
As I mentioned earlier, prime rib can be an expensive endeavor on the home front, but it’s better and less expensive than the steak house version … and you have leftovers for prime rib sandwiches smothered in Swiss cheese!
When purchasing a prime rib roast, make sure to ask your butcher to prepare one with the ribs still attached. These make for a great roasting rack and add some extra flavor to the meat. It will add to the cost … and it isn’t necessary to get a great result … but worth it if you can.
A roast with 3 ribs will serve about 6 people – you’ll cut the meat away from the ribs after it has cooked, then slice the roast to serve. If you can’t get a roast with ribs, that’s okay. This recipe will work just as well either way. I always order my roast ahead of time to avoid that rush at the butcher counter during the holidays, and I pick it up the day before Christmas Eve so it’s still fresh on Christmas day.
- ½ cup fresh grated horseradish
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (or 1 teaspoon tried)
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 4- pound roast ribs down in a large roasting pan. Mash the horseradish crust ingredients together in a small bowl (use a the side of a wooden spoon to mash the ingredients against the side of the bowl) to create a paste.
Spread the paste evenly and generously over the top of the roast. If you run out or want a thicker crust, simply make more.
Roast the meat for about 1 hour, 20 minutes – 20 minutes per pound of meat. The internal temperature should register 125 degrees for medium rare meat. I usually check mine at about 1 hour to prevent overcooking. Prime rib should always be served medium rare, and the middle will be the most rare.
Remove the roast from the pan and let set on carving board for about 15 minutes. The temperature will rise about another 10 degrees in the middle and the juices will set. Slice to preferred thickness and serve.
The juice in the roasting pan will be served along side the meat. You can separate the fat if you wish, but I use it all. You can also thicken the juice in a saucepan by adding a slurry of water and cornstarch, then bringing to a boil until desired thickness.
Serve each slice of prime rib with Au jus, fresh horseradish and mushrooms sauteed in red or Marsala wine.
Prepared Horseradish is probably one of the most popular condiment to accompany beef and even some seafood. It has a unique flavor with a definite bite and we love it! America produces a whopping 6 millions gallons of prepared horseradish each year, and the majority of that comes from Illinois! Read more about horseradish in my post, How to use and store fresh horseradish.