MOTHER’S ROAST BEEF
My Mother = s trademark was her roast beef. She cooked it for birthdays, holidays, weddings, and even after funerals. It made no difference if there were 4 or 40 at the table. All seven ribs complete with the chine bones were presented on a platter in front of my Father to carve. Those were the days when beef wasn’t trimmed and marbled beef designated high quality. The beef was set into the pan fat side up to drip through the meat as it roasted slowly at 325 ° F. until browned on top and perfectly rare in the center. And, we ate the fat. We relished the fat! The best part of the beef was the excess salt and pepper that permeated the burned fat, just as the tastiest part of a lamb chop was the singed fat between the double rib bones. And, we believed that the natural gravy that filled the platter during the carving was a cure-all for everything. The trick was to ladle it onto the beef and sop it up with bread before it congealed into white fat. One of the last remaining memories of this cholesterol heaven is a cafeteria style eat-in, take-out place in New Orleans called “Mother’s”. “Nawln’s” folk and tourists wait in line around the block to pay extra for the outside part of the beef piled high into hoagie buns ladled with natural gravy that congeals as it cools.
Roast beef in my home was accompanied by stuffed potatoes slowly baked at 300°F for two hours. They were sliced into halves and scooped out, being careful not to break the outer shells. Then they were mashed with butter, milk and salt and piled high in the reserved shells. The last step was to cover them with thick layers of cheddar cheese and place them under the broiler to bubble over their sides. These were accompanied by America = s wartime innovation, canned peas and carrots swimming in post-war accessible butter. When canned goods of the forties modernized into the frozen food era of the fifties, we were able to serve out of season green vegetables direct from the new freezer we had seen advertised on television by that pretty lady, Betty Furness. Dessert was always the same. Mother only knew how to make one dessert: Ice Cream Cake. Bakery-bought ladyfingers were arranged on the bottom and around the sides (flat side facing inward) of a spring-form pan. A thick layer of softened chocolate ice cream was smoothed over and frozen for 30 minutes. Then, chocolate fudge sauce was spooned over. It was followed by a layer of vanilla ice cream and frozen again. Another layer of fudge sauce was covered by either chocolate or coffee or peppermint ice cream. When it was solid, the cake was topped with more fudge sauce and sprinkled lavishly with chopped nuts. The cake was set on a platter and the sides of the spring-form removed to expose the ladyfingers. Even though everyone knew there was no talent involved in this “recipe”, it was loudly applauded. Fifty years later, it’s still a winner. Everyone likes ice cream!
STANDING RIB ROAST
Yield: Allow 3/4 pound per person
Do not cut through or remove the ribs before cooking or the timing will change.
Cooking time: If you have a meat thermometer, remove the roast from the oven when it registers 120 ° for rare beef, 130 ° for medium-rare, 140 ° for medium, and 150 ° for well-done. Let the meat stand 15-20 minutes before carving. The juices will settle and the texture will be firmer, allowing easier carving. It will continue to cook internally as it stands. If you do not have a thermometer, follow the method below. Cooking time includes the first twenty minutes. Do not baste at any time.
||16-18 minutes per pound
||20-22 minutes per pound
||24-26 minutes per pound
||30 minutes per pound
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter or butter substitute
Optional: 1-2 cloves garlic
3 Bermuda onions, sliced thick
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1-1/4 cups beef broth (1-10 ounce can)
||Preheat oven to 450 ° F. Bring the beef to room temperature. Slice off as much fat as possible without cutting into the meat. Sprinkle the beef and bones sparingly with the salt and lavishly with the black pepper. Brush the melted butter over all. If you like garlic, crush a clove or two and rub it into the beef, or slit the top with a sharp knife and slice the garlic into thin slivers to insert.
||Line a roasting pan with the onions and celery and place the beef on top. Pour the broth into the bottom of the pan and roast, uncovered, 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 ° F and cook until done to your liking. Turn the beef over the last 20 minutes to brown the bones.
||To slice: Cut the bones off before slicing. Serve with gravy and white horseradish on the side.