I don’t know how you celebrate Dec. 24-25, but for my family and me it is two days of celebrations, memories and somber reflection. You see, every year since 1970, when my husband and I got married, we always had a Christmas Eve Open House. Yeah, crazy right? Well, why not? In 1970 we were the only ones of our friends, my siblings and cousins with a child, so why not invite our crazy, fun family and our hippie friends over to celebrate and help Santa out by putting some of his gifts together? We enjoyed a buffet dinner of assorted foods and drinks with our friends, who then stayed into the wee hours of the night helping with Santa’s toys! The party continues to this day, but now it is just immediate family, our adult kids, and their families. The Christmas Eve dinner is still a great buffet and always a hit because we have such a variety of foods. So how many people? Including the kids, their spouses and their kids, the count is 17 people. So where is the dilemma? It is a Christmas Day dilemma. We have enough leftovers to not cook, but who wants warmed-up, happy-hour party food for their Christmas dinner? Well, we start over on Christmas Day with a completely different menu and save the Christmas Eve leftovers for snacking over the next three-four days. The dilemma is deciding what the main course will be on Dec. 25. We have had lobster, turkey, beef tenderloin, ham and lamb, a whole salmon encrusted in puff pastry, a stuffed veal roast and, of course, a turducken. There are also many others, too many to mention, so I sent out a questionnaire and narrowed it down to three choices: lamb, ham and beef. Then we voted using paper ballots to avoid any chance of machine failure … LOL! And the winner is beef; after all they’re Texans and beef and Texas go hand in hand. If you have been reading my column over the years, you know I can’t just throw a few beef steaks on the grill and call it a meal. So, “Please Join Our Christmas Day Table” as I prepare a 7-pound, standing rib-eye roast with horseradish butter and all the trimmings.
This column is in memory of my mother who passed on Christmas Day 2008. My dearest Christmas memories and somber reflections are of her.
Beef Ribeye Roast with Cracked Black Pepper and Rosemary
This recipe was inspired from a H-E-B Cooking Connection recipe. It will serve approximately 12 people.
1 7-pound prime beef boneless rib roast or a 12-14 pound, bone-in prime beef rib roast
1 1/2 tablespoons dried and 1 tablespoon fresh, minced rosemary
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Horseradish butter patties for 12 (recipe below) or use the best quality store-bought horseradish sauce you can find
* In a pinch? Mix together 1/2 cup whole-milk sour cream, 1/4 cup Duke’s mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a dash each of garlic powder, salt and pepper to pass at the table.
In small bowl, combine garlic, first part of rosemary, salt, paprika, pepper and EVOO; stir to mix all ingredients well. Carefully wipe down the roast to get it a bit dry and then aggressively massage/rub the mixture onto the roast surface, including spaces between meat and bones. Completely wrap the roast tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. To roast: Remove from the fridge and let roast stand (still wrapped in plastic wrap) for 30-60 minutes before roasting. While roast is resting, get out a roasting pan with a rack and preheat oven to 325 degrees. If needed, remove one oven shelf to allow the roast to fit in the center of the oven. Carefully unwrap and throw away plastic wrap. Place roast on rack bone-side down. Do not cover or add water. Roast in oven until a meat thermometer inserted in center (not touching bone) reads 130 to 135 degrees for medium rare. Refer to cooking label on your roast for time estimate per pound. Remove from oven, place on a platter, and let stand 15 minutes before carving the roast. This allows the roast to re-absorb the juices into the meat.
*Note: I like to get a slight bark and caramelization on my roast by finishing it outside if the weather is nice, and usually here in Kingwood it is a beautiful Christmas day. I preheat the outside grill to 325 degrees and add smoking chips and then carefully move the roast outside to the grill, keeping it on the rack in the pan. I place it on the preheated outdoor grill and continue to roast it until a meat thermometer inserted in the center (not touching bone) reaches 130-135 degrees for medium rare. Be sure to check the approximate cooking times per pound needed for your roast. Remove from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving the roast.
3/4 cup butter (salted), softened
1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
Prepare horseradish patties by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and form this into oval-shaped patties that are about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on parchment or wax paper and chill patties in the fridge until firm. When you are ready to serve your roast, place a horseradish disk on each serving. It should melt into a delicious horseradish crumb delight.
*Note: You can also use these patties on individual steaks. Just after grilling steaks, arrange them on a baking sheet and top each one with a patty. Pop these filets under the broiler until crust is bubbling but not brown, and serve.