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beef for a dinner party. help, please.

  • m

i'm having my first dinner party next week for six people. all the side dishes and appetizers i want to make seem like they'd go best with beef. however, i just started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for 15 years, and am a little unskilled in the meat preparation department. also, i'm willing to spend a bit of money, but ruled out my initial thought of filet mignon when i realized how much money i'd be spending on that.

i was thinking maybe steak (ny strip steaks??) with an herb, shallot, and butter round on top. or, since it's for a group who might all like their meat cooked differently, maybe a london broil. i looked for some good marinades online and couldn't seem to decide. maybe something with horseradish or shallots, or some sort of blue cheese sauce? also, i don't really know times and temperatures and things like that.

any help would be much appreciated.

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  1. How about a prime rib-very easy. Use Martha Stewart's recipe. Also, if you have a Costco in your neighborhood, I would pick it up there. I bought a 4 lb. boneless prime rib and it was heavenly!

    1. Are you looking to grill, broil, roast or cook on the stove top? Or have you considered braising, as in a pot roast? There are many choices among the cuts, and the cooking method will help narrow them.

      I would venture that, if you can afford the freight, a standing rib roast is the easiest thing to prepare and is very festive. There are some instructions you'd need to provide your butcher, but after that all there is salt, pepper, searing on the stove top and then finishing in a slow-moderate oven. Exceedingly simple for the novice who can afford the cut.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S.

        The standing rib roast (prime rib) from the small end of the roast is the way to go. The roast has much more flavor than fillet. The new issue of Gourmet, March edition, dedicated to England, has a recipe for rib roast with a crust of Coleman's dried mustard. Have the butcher remove the chine for easier carving and plan on some deviled beef bones with the ribs the next day. Face smearing, finger licking good!

      2. Hi, Would any of your dishes maybe go with pork tenderloin? You can make blackened tenderloin medallions that are easy, tender,fast and good. Just cut the medallions about l l/2 in. thick, let the blackened seasoning sit on them for about 30 min. before browning. Brown about 1 min. per side in a very hot skillet(add just enough oil to cover pan) and then finish pork in a 350 degree oven for 8- 10 min. Let rest covered with foil for 5-10 min. while you finish up the rest of your meal. I serve this with a hollandaise sauce. These are not only excellent, but a very inexpensive meat.
        Sometimes I'm able to buy a whole beef tenderloin at a wholesale club(like Sam's or Costco) for a lot less than at a butcher shop. We love a horseradish sauce with this. If you go to epicurious.com or the food network, you will get many great recipes and tips, as well as at this site. Hope your party goes well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jackie

          I totally agree - forget the beef and go with "the other white meat". Every time I have a bunch of people over I have pork tenderloin (okay, not EVERY time, but many times). It's soooo easy, looks really great on the table and is inexpensive. I'd highly recommend it for a novice meat cook. (Check out Paula Deen's pork tenderloin with root veggies on foodtv.com). If you can swing it with your other sides, I'd do it. Good luck!

          Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

          1. re: Jellybelly

            With the pork idea--you mentioned a blue cheese sauce as a possibility, and boneless pork loin cutlets go great with aged blue cheese. We like to make "lomito al Cabrales"--super-easy Spanish recipe copied from a tapas bar we like. Just grill or broil the cutlets, placing a thick slice of Cabrales (Valdeon works well too--any crumbly, strong, aged blue) on top a few minutes before they're done. Mmmmmmm.....

        2. FLank steak? I have a recipe that calls for a marinade of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, worcestershire, dry mustard, black pepper, salt, garlic and oil. You cross-score the steak before marinating to allow marinade to penetrate and keep from curling when you cook it. Can do on a grill or in iron skillet, 3-4 mins per side, and slice against the grain - some type of horseradish or flavored mayo topping might be good.

          1. Not to disagree with the other posters, whose suggestions are excellent, but why don't you tell us what side dishes you have in mind so we're not shooting in the dark as to the feel you're going for?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tatania

              Excellent point. Please give us more info to help you. I would suggest getting the best cut you can find, hang the expense, because it will be less demanding of your rusty meat-cooking skills. Filet is not as flavorful as other cuts but that can be overcome with a robust sear and a demi-glace sauce. Strip steak is a good selection because it cooks very evenly. Several strip steaks in a row, not cut apart, make a very nice roast I have heard. Ribeye steaks or boneless rib roast (actually a verrrry thick ribeye steak) or standing rib roast is a good choice because it is the very best cut of beef -- nb, the standing rib roast is a bit of a challenge to carve but it's not that hard and it makes you look like a badass, if you have a sharp knife. The big end gives you more variety of texture and more flavor, the small end is more uniform. And on and on, plus maybe your veg selections would go really well with a nice pork loin which is wicked easy to cook and carve.

              Do tell!

            2. my appetizer, salad, sides and dessert:
              dates stuffed with almonds, wrapped with pancetta
              chopped salad with french dijon vinegrette
              sauteed assorted mushrooms with thyme and garlic
              roasted new potatoes with rosemary
              broiled pineapple with vanilla rum sauce

              my only option for cooking is gas stovetop or oven, or broiler.

              i'm nervous about carving any meat with a bone. maybe strip steaks are the way to go?

              5 Replies
              1. re: marisa

                Seems to me a roasted bird would work with your sides. However, I am for braising if you're going beef. It's simple, is fairly forgiving in the timing department, and may not hold the worries broiling steaks would bring - like does everyone want medium rare and how are you at judging doneness? It is still winter, so braising fits with the season, and while osso buco and short ribs have been done to death they are good and fairly simple to make. Lamb shanks would also be an option. I do see one possible problem with braising, however, your potatoes will need the oven at a temp far higher then the braise. Do you have a double oven? Then maybe it is steak under the broiler.

                1. re: muD

                  I would tend to go with braising, too. Braised beef of nearly any kind is hard to screw up, holds for the late stragglers, and generally you can use cheaper cuts. (Despite some people's suggestions just to forget about expenses and go with prime rib or filet mignon, some of us don't have that kind of money to spend if we're going to make rent.) And though I think a roasted bird would work fine, most people I know are happy to get beef - either they can't afford it on a regular basis, or they think it's a little unhealthy so they don't indulge too often. Regular roasted chicken is a little too commonplace for a dinner party, and duck and goose and all are a bit fussy for a novice.

                2. re: marisa

                  I think either a roast (pork, beef, even boneless turkey breast) would be terrific with your menu. You could roast the potatoes on the stove top pretty easily to free up the oven. Much as I love braises, I'm not so sure I'd go with one, myself, in your shoes. Maybe I'm projecting wishfully here in Boston, but your menu seems to have a whiff of spring about it, and braises, to me, are pure winter. Plus, at least with the braises I know, the sauce is primo, and roasted potatoes with rosemary seem to call for a meat that's more self-contained. (As opposed to noodles or mashed potatoes where the sloshing together would only improve things.)

                  I agree that dealing with steaks, which are last minute and can be picky, are not good dinner party material for someone who doesn't do them a lot.

                  1. re: marisa

                    I recommend the rib roast. It has become my standard main course for dinner parties because it is such a no-brainer and is raved about for months. Carving is not an issue -- every butcher I've bought prime rib from has cut off the bone and then tied it back together, so once it's done, just cut the ties and carve the roast and the ribs separately.

                    I just rub the roast with a mixture of coarse salt, pepper, lemon zest, chopped rosemary and a bit of chili flakes (I once bought a great rub made of these things, but now just make it myself), oven sear it for a bit, and then drop the oven temp. and roast it to temperature. It's perfect for guests of varying rareness preferences, because those who like it more well done can have the ends. There's even more flexibility if you make two smaller roasts rather than one large one.

                    Also, I've had great luck with the Bon Appetit/Epicurious recipe for prime rib with madeira sauce (link below) -- it's fantastic!

                    Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    1. re: Rickie

                      one more thing -- one of the things I prefer about the rib roast over steaks or other less-substantial cuts is that the fact that it takes a while to cook (and then to rest) frees me up to work on the more time sensitive and labor intensive dishes before my guests arrive.

                  2. Get a whole beef tenderloin, rub it with olive oil and season it with Sniders Prime Rib and Roast sesoning liberally. Roast for 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven, romove and let rest. You can make a pan sauce with the juices and renderings if you wish. Not an inexpensive way to solve your problem, but in my experience, the food will be memorable. If you can't find the seasoning mentioned above, use salt, pepper, and maybe a little garlic in the olive oil...

                    1. When I saw your list of apps/sides (dates, rosemary potatoes) I immediately thought of lamb.
                      Get a boneless leg of lamb, pat it dry, rub it with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cut garlic into slivers and insert into slits cut all over the roast.
                      Roast in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, until internal temp is around 130 degrees for medium rare/medium. At the 30 minute mark add a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves to the roasting pan.
                      When finished remove roast and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing.
                      Meanwhile, remove roasted garlic and deglaze pan with chicken broth scraping up any browned bits. Push garlic out of the skin and press through a sieve or add whole to the jus.
                      A pinch or two of marjoram or oregano can be added to the jus for extra flavor. However, it might compete with the rosemary in the potatoes.
                      Slice and serve au jus.