HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


December 2013 Cookbook of the Month, ALL ABOUT ROASTING by Molly Stevens: Beef & Lamb; Pork

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from ALL ABOUT ROASTING by Molly Stevens

Beef & Lamb, pages 51-161
Pork, pages 153-249

To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below. If you are the first to report on a recipe, please reply to the original post. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. One Hour Rosemary Rib Roast, pg. 93

    This is an interesting technique for this sort of medium sized roast beef. The rib-eye is cut from the bone, and then having seasoned the meat and the bones with a garlic mash, S&P, and rosemary sprigs, the meat is reattached to the bone with twine, rested (mine only for the minimum 4 hours), and then roasted, all at high, 450, heat.

    The resulting roast is flavorful, tender and rare, and very easy to carve. Most of the diners liked this very well, but I have to say that personally I'm not sure rosemary and garlic are the best partners for beef (now if it were lamb....). And I'm also not sold on the all high heat roasting for this cut, it seems to me a lower and slower roast lets the ribs render out a bit more fat, and leads to a tastier roast. But for a mid-week birthday dinner, you couldn't beat this one for easy and quick. We had a fair amount left-over, and I will say, that this roast made for some of the best re-heated roast beef, ever. Perhaps because it was still quite rare and could stand up to some additional cooking.

    7 Replies
    1. re: qianning

      That roast looks fabulous, Qianning. When we were eating beef that rare was how we liked it. My son's favorite meal was standing rib with Yorkshire pudding cooked in the pan under the meat. Mine too, truth be told.

      1. re: qianning

        As one who does not often consume large amounts of meat at one sitting, I must admit that I am now considering a trip to the butcher shop to pick up a nice chunk of rib roast. Looks positively mouth-watering!

        1. re: qianning

          Wow. That is just lovely, and like many of you, I am not a hunk of meat person much these days.

          1. re: qianning

            Looks amazing. I'm dying for a piece of rare fatty meat hopefully the end of this month after my gallbladder is removed.

            This may be my meat! Lol

            1. re: qianning

              Thanks all, it was a pretty incredibly easy meal to prepare, perfect for a special occasion that falls on a weeknight.

              1. re: qianning

                That technique is almost exactly the same as for the Standing Rib Roast of Pork in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook in which the seasonings for the pork are garlic, fennel, and coriander. Gnawing on the bones was heaven.

                Your roast looks just spectacular, and perfectly done. Now I, too, want a rib roast ASAP.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Thanks Joan--I don't own the Zuni book, but in truth I'd rather have roast pork than roast beef any day, so I'll have to look into it.

              2. Basic Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Pg. 169; Option 2, Orange and Thyme Rubbed, Pg. 172

                The deal with this particular pork tenderloin is a mixture consisting of: fresh thyme, orange zest, cumin seed, Aleppo pepper, S & P is rubbed all over the meat which is then placed in the fridge to marinate from 4 to 24 hours. Ours was in the fridge for 7 hours. There are several options for this recipe, as well as the leeway to use any other seasonings of one's choice.

                When ready to cook heat oven to 350F, if tenderloin has a thinner end tuck it underneath and tie w twine. Ours was tailess. The meat is seared in a hot skillet then placed on a rimmed baking sheet to roast till about 140F interior temp. Ms. Stevens defends using two pans by saying if the pork is kept in the hot skillet to roast it will cook too quickly. Additionally, this gives the cook time to make a vermouth pan sauce w the drippings remaining in the skillet. It made sense and I wouldn't change this method.

                The outcome was a tender, slightly pink, juicy, well seasoned pork tenderloin. The timing was perfect. Very quick and easy too. Side dishes were a braised red cabbage and baked potatoes. Lovely start to the month!

                11 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  Sounds great Gio. I usually avoid pork tenderloin and I've never had much luck with it but your review is encouraging. I usually don't associate the word juicy with pork tenderloin so the technique is obviously a good one.

                  1. re: delys77

                    We're just the opposite, Delys, preferring the tenderloin to other cuts lately. The trick is to not cook it very long. The sear then roast technique is perfect for this cut of pork. That and a good organic piece of meat.

                    1. re: Gio

                      That may be part of my problem. I have found that the pork I was getting at the farmers market was far better than what I usually get at the supermarket. Sadly we have moved into winter and the only farmers market still open is a bit out of the way for me.

                      I should give wholefoods a shot though, they likely have some good pork.

                      1. re: delys77

                        Delys, we buy at either WF during Winter or the farm during the other seasons.

                        1. re: Gio

                          Sounds like a good plan thanks Gio.

                      2. re: Gio

                        Not for this recipe, but we grill pork tenderloins about four minutes a "side" and they're wonderfully tender.

                    2. re: Gio

                      We love this recipe and it has made its way into our favorites file.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Sear-roasted pork tenderloin

                        I made this last night, just the basic salt and pepper version with the pan sauce (I subbed white wine for vermouth). I haven't ever made a pork tenderloin, I don't think. My mom used to make them and I found them a little tasteless. But I saw some nice pork tenderloin at whole foods and decided to give this recipe a try.

                        I'm glad I did! The pork was flavorful and juicy and nicely complemented by the pan sauce. I pre salted for 4 hours (the minimum) but it really made a difference in the flavor of the meat. I used thyme in the pan sauce, since I had some leftover from thanksgiving.

                        I served this with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts and this made an easy and relatively elegant meal. My kids complained at first (something unfamiliar is usually met with suspicion by them) but then ate it all up. My husband loved it and had 2 servings.

                        A great intro to this book! Instructions and timing were spot on.

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          I'm so happy you and your husband liked this recipe Greeneggsnham! Now you have to try the options. LOL

                          During the Summer we bought a few pork tenderloins from our CSA farm but since that ceased we've been buying all meat and seafood from Whole Foods and think theirs is better tasting. Plus it's all organic with no additional anything.

                        2. re: Gio

                          Option 3, Rosemary, Coriander and Mustard Pg. 172

                          I chose this option because these are flavors we like, and we both enjoyed the delicious and tender dish. I won't be making this again in winter -- need to be able to have windows open during the searing step; our kitchen venting system just isn't up to this task.

                          After searing and before roasting, the quickly-assembled paste is spread on the tenderloin. The paste has dijon mustard, fresh rosemary (I used dried) and crushed toasted coriander seeds (I used ground) mixed with a little olive oil, and also calls for salt & pepper which I omitted.

                          Following the basic method, I salted/peppered the tenderloin 4 hours ahead of time. I failed to dry it again before searing and the skillet oil spattered quite a bit. I spread the paste all over the seared pork and roasted on a rimmed sheet pan, per instructions. The paste remained quite soft - it did not form a hard crust during baking.

                          I served with cubed microwaved sweet potato. Freshly baked gingerbread cookies for dessert.

                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                            Good to read your report Midwesterner. I don't recall whether or not the loin we cooked spattered at the searing, but it may have. The seasoning took so little time I guess it didn't matter, I am glad the finished loin was tasty though. We thought ours was delicious. I had hoped to do all the options by month's end. There's still time if I plan well.

                        3. Basic Roasted Sausages, Pg. 248

                          As usual with Ms. Stevens' basic recipes in her introduction to this recipe she suggests additional inclusions like sliced bell pepper, or indeed any other ingredient one might wish to use. There's also an option to use both sweet and hot sausages. We stayed with the basic which has sliced onions. I did make one substitution, namely spicy chicken with broccoli rabe sausages instead of plain pork.

                          Her method for roasting the sausages is similar to Rick Moonen's for broiled fish: the technique of heating a cast iron skillet under the broiler before placing the seasoned fish on. For the sausages a cast iron skillet is heated in a pre-heated 400F oven 5 minutes, take out, pour in some oil, return skillet to oven and heat a further 2 minutes.
                          This allows the sausages to brown well. Sliced onions are then placed into the hot skillet with the sausages on top. Roast for 10 minutes, flip everything, roast till all is cooked through... all told perhaps about 25 minutes +/-.

                          The sausages were well cooked yet still juicy and quite tasty. We both liked them. The slightly caramelized onions were lovely with the meat. I thought the sausage skin was a little tough but G didn't. Frankly, I think he liked this dish more than I did, but it was an easy recipe to follow and that pleases him no end.

                          I also served a steamed cauliflower salad w greens and tomatoes using MS's vinaigrette, from her Roast Chicken recipe, on page 268. A pleasurable meal.

                          1. Roasted Whole Fresh Ham (Pork Leg Roast), with Spice Rub
                            page 238-40

                            I will start with, I did not roast a whole fresh ham. I roasted a 2 1/2 lb bottom round/eye boneless roast, which was taken from the ham. This Fall I bought a half pig, and have a number of these odd cuts. The butcher made smaller cuts from really big ones to fit our family size. Figuring out where on the animal these unknown cuts come from, and deciding the best method to cook them, has been a bit of a challenge. Tonight, I took a risk and just did it.

                            The roast is scored and then seasoned. The primary recipe calls for salt and pepper. I opted to use her spice rub of cumin, coriander, allspice berries, bay leaves, paprika, chili powder, cloves and cayenne. I made a half recipe of the spice rub, and didn't use it all. Scaling back from the 18-20 lbs she describes to my 2 1/2 pounds took some imagination. Though she says the ham should sit seasoned for 1-2 days uncovered in the fridge, my pork roast was allowed only 3 hours. The roast begins the cooking in a very hot oven (450º) for 25 minutes, and then the temperature is reduced to 325º. I only did the high heat for 20 minutes before bringing down the temp. After reducing the oven temperature, pour beer into the bottom of the roasting pan and let the pork cook until it reaches 145º. No beer in my house, so I used apple cider.

                            The ham rests for 45 minutes after coming out of the oven. Reserve the pan juices in a separater, reheating after skimming the fat, to serve over the roast. Again, my pork rested for less time, and though I did reheat the pan juices, even after adding some white wine, it was far too sweet for us to use.

                            To carve, you remove the skin/fat layer, and then slice the meat. She suggests cutting the skin into small chunks to serve with the meat.

                            I was completely prepared for this evening's meal to be a total disaster. Maybe this mystery cut should be braised, or ground for sausage. Instead, it was delicious! The spice rub could actually be tasted even though neither one of us gnawed on the skin. The meat was moist without the au jus. We don't often do a "hunk of meat" anymore, but this one was a most successful way to celebrate Mr. Smt's birthday.

                            Served with roasted potatoes, shallots, and garlic and steamed green beans.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker

                              That looks wonderful. You know, I've seen that cut of meat somewhere or another, and thought "what does one do with it?", now I know.

                              1. re: qianning

                                The leftovers have been wonderful. The kid enjoyed some slices with pasta. Last night we have some slices with a spinach salad and crispy shallots. Lunch today will be a traditional Georgia pork sandwich with pickle on a white roll.

                                When the leftovers are good, the hunk of meat doesn't feel so intimidating. We will manage to finish it up today.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  I don't cook ham very often, but when I do... it's usually for Easter or Christmas. The last Christmas ham we made was several years ago. This year it may just be our Christmas Day Lunch. Your reviews have been enticing, SMT. I'll ask at Whole Foods about the possibility of getting a fresh ham piece from the leg at about 3.6 lbs. Thanks for the inspiration.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    M.F. Dulock was my butcher for this pig if you fancy a trip to Somerville. They are happy to take "special" orders so your cut is waiting for you.


                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Thanks SMT! Dulock has an FB page so I was able to see the various cuts of meat that they sell. Phenomenal is the word I'd use. I'll have G check it out if he agrees to ham.

                              2. re: smtucker

                                Ham is a mysterious subject. I do wish there was a 'tutorial' on ham somewhere. It always mystifies me when I attempt to understand the differences between cured, uncured, smoked etc. Kudos to you for plunging ahead so bravely!
                                It looks very tasty.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Roasted Whole Fresh Ham, Pg. 238

                                  In all the years I've been cooking I don't think I've ever cooked a fresh ham, and in all that time maybe I've cooked a cured one two or three times. When SMT posted her result using this recipe I was intrigued. We made Ms. Stevens' basic recipe without the spice rub so we could taste the difference between a fresh ham and a pork roast. It's like night and day I would say. We used a fresh organic half leg, bone in ham that weighed 7 pounds. The recipe calls for an 18 - 20 pounder and even at 7lbs. I think we'll be eating ham for the rest of our lives.

                                  We took the rind off leaving a thin layer of fat which was scored then the entire ham was rubbed with lots salt and black pepper. It was set on a rack in a roasting sheet and refrigerated uncovered for 3 days. To roast, the ham is brought to room temperature for at least an hour. We roasted the ham in a pre-heated 475F oven for 25 minutes then lowered the temp to 325F, poured in 24 ounces Sam Adams Double Agent India Pale Lager (great beer, BTW!), and let 'er rip for about 3 1/2 hours when inner temp read 155F.

                                  If we ever decide we'd like to roast another fresh ham this is the method I'd use again. The meat was beautiful to look at, tender succulent with a distinct flavor unlike a regular pork tenderloin or shoulder. Not salty at all which was surprising. I also served a revisit of the roasted Brussels sprouts, baked yams, and kimchi (of all things!).

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Your roast looks delicious! Your post reminded me of a quote - that the definition of eternity is two people and a ham :-) - I forget who said that.

                                    1. re: Blythe spirit

                                      Thanks Blythe spirit. Dorothy Parker.

                                2. Sear Roasted Double Cut Pork Chop for Two, pg. 188

                                  One lonely thick cut, but not double, pork chop in the freezer, weighing a scant pound. Hmmm, what the heck, give it a go. Reduced more or less everything by a third, including the brining & cooking times. It all worked out just fine.

                                  For me there was a real "light bulb turns on moment" in this technique--standing the rib chop on the bone after searing and before putting it in the oven. Similar to the cold pan technique that Gio mentions above in the tenderloin recipe, this really helped control the cooking temp and with one basting, produced a lovely moist chop. We didn't even bother to serve it with the pan juices, the meat didn't need them.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Nice! Our pig gave us some VERY thick chops. I have been using them as grill material, but will defiantly try this one next.

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Sear Roasted Double Cut Pork Chop for Two (page 188)

                                      Read your report, qianning, and took one quick glance at that photo and knew I had to try this ASAP. So the next time I was at my good butcher buying something else, I bought a double-cut center-cut pork loin chop (as specified in the ingredients list). I had only scanned the ingredients quickly to make sure I had everything since I wasn't going to be making this for another evening or two. It wasn’t until the day I was going to prepare it that I sat down and read the recipe carefully, including the “Shopping for a Double-Cut Pork Chop” on the following page. I think it’s clear that there’s an error in the ingredients list and she’s talking about a double-cut center-cut RIB chop. How else could you “cut down between the rib bones”? Anyway, I now had a loin chop so I went with it. And except that I was out of the juniper berries I was sure I had, I followed the recipe as written, marinating for nearly eight hours and using white vermouth.

                                      My chop took closer to 50 minutes to reach temp, and was still acceptably pinkish inside. Although I agree the chop didn’t “need” the pan juices, there was a lot of flavor in there with the drippings, butter, and wine and I was glad I used them. Would have been even happier to use them if I’d served the chop with something sauce appropriate like noodles or mashed potatoes, but I was just using up some Brussels sprouts and chestnuts that had been leftover from Thanksgiving.

                                      I don’t think this will replace braising for me as my go-to pork chop cooking method, but it was a very tasty change of pace.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        Sear Roasted Double Cut Pork Chop for Two, pg. 188

                                        I finally remembered to pull the chops from the freezer the night we wanted to eat them, so I could squeeze in the 6 hours needed for a brine. My chops were 1 1/2" thick and probably 1 1/2 cut pork chops.

                                        Like quianning above, cooking the chop upright was revelatory. Mr. SMT, it turns out, has been grilling our lamb chops on the grill like this for the past two years! He told me all the reasons for this while devouring his chop. I served it with some spaetzle and sautéed cabbage. Half my chop is left, so I will slice this for lunch tomorrow.

                                        I am not convinced by leaving the 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan before adding the butter and vermouth. I might try pouring at least some of it out in the future since I found the pan sauces to be a little too oily.

                                        Another winner from this book.

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          Sear Roasted Single Cut Rib Pork Chop for Two, pg. 188

                                          There are only so many center cut pork chops on a half-pig, so yesterday I tried this method with slightly thinner rib chops. Since the rib is a convex curve, I was unable to stand the chop up on the bone. Instead, I stood it up on the ample fat cap on the other side.

                                          This time, I did pour out most of the oil before adding the butter and vermouth. While the meat rested I made a pan sauce in the pan by sautéeing some shallots, adding some Fallot old fashioned grain mustard, and then off the heat, finishing with just a bit of butter.

                                          The chop(s) were perfectly cooked once again. The sauce was delicious. We only ate one chop so we get to enjoy the second one tonight.

                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            Made this again last night and took a page from SMT's great idea above--added Dijon to the pan sauce, no shallots, but one minced anchovy fillet, and also a bit of reserved brine, reduced, added a bit of butter 1+tsp, then used the sauce to wilt arugula, which worked really well.

                                          2. re: qianning

                                            if anyone happens to see this today....what temp is the oven supposed to be set at?

                                          3. Roasted Hamburgers, Pg. 112

                                            While this recipe probably will not replace the ubiquitous grilled burger, it certainly is one to consider for its unusual cooking technique and almost hands off ease. Although the recipe uses 2 lbs. ground chuck I used 1 lb. ground dark meat turkey. Essentially halving the recipe but not quite the remaining ingredients since I thought it wise to season aggressively. In the head notes Ms Stevens allows for this sort of halving or doubling and gives additional guidance, so it's a good idea to read everything she writes.

                                            The meat is seasoned with Worcestershire, and S & P. The oven is heated to 475F. Form the burgers as she describes, she's very precise. The burgers are placed on a wire rack set into an aluminum baking sheet and roasted for however long it takes to reach the desired inner temp. for the meat you're cooking. A minute before that place either Swiss or cheddar on top of each burger. We used 2 slices of Gruyere for each burger.

                                            A list of optional toppings is given and G chose lettuce and tomato, w mustard on toasted ciabatta roll, and a Kosher half sour pickle sliced into spears on the side. All in all a pretty tasty burger considering the meat we used. I'm guessing either a mix of turkey and pork could be used, or all pork, or even ground duck! would be great. A tossed salad w red wine vinaigrette completed this Saturday evening meal.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Thank you for mentioning using this recipe with ground duck! We both loved the ground duck burger recipe in Big Small Plates, but found ours were way too soft for grilling. I think this method of cooking could work quite well with the BSP recipe. We made the stuffed mushroom and cheese variation of this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed how juicy they were. I need to make those again sometime.

                                            2. Peppered Tri-Tip Roast page 63

                                              Despite it's popularity on the West coast, I had never cooked a tri-tip roast. I decided on this recipe because tri-tip was on sale. I followed the recipe as written with a 2-pound roast. I did not make the chimichurri. I simply sliced it and served with pan roasted broccoli and quinoa pilaf.

                                              I salted and peppered the roast about two hours in advance and left out on the counter as the recipe suggests. The roast was done to a perfect medium rare after 30 minutes. I am not usually a fan of heavily black peppered meat, but this cut is rich enough to hold up to the pepper. The roast didn't get a nice crust like I had hoped even though I did use a rack and let the oven preheat for a good long while. My DH commented that it reminded him on prime rib. It was tender and juicy with very little effort.

                                              I found the carving instructions to be helpful.

                                              This was an easy, affordable weeknight meal. It could certainly be dressed up with chimichurri or horseradish cream sauce. I will keep my eye out for Tri-Tip on sale and make this recipe again with out a doubt.

                                              1. Spice-Crusted Roast Pork Tenderloin, pg. 177

                                                Mr. QN continues to love this month's selection. Like GE&Ham above, pork tenderloin isn't an ingredient i turn to often, but with one reservation I thought this one was quite nice.

                                                Basically smear a tenderloin (half a recipe--the original is for two pieces of meat) with yogurt spiced with Dijon mustard and garlic, then roll the meat in spiced (coriander, fennel and mustard seeds, roughly ground) panko moistened with a bit of melted butter. Place meat on a baking dish, start in a hot oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat and cook for a further 12-17 minutes--mine went 15.

                                                The flavors were lovely, and while not overly assertive, the spices definitely added a lot of flavor to the meat. And with no brining time, and a pretty quick prep, it is a very weeknight friendly dish. The top crust on the meat has a nice crunchiness that contrasts well with the meat. My one quibble, the bottom layer of the crust was too mushy. If I were to make this again, I would use a baking rack of some sort, so that the bottom crust would crisp up a bit.

                                                1. Basic Roast Bone-In Leg of Lamb - p. 138

                                                  This is a pretty straightforward recipe, just like the name suggests; a bone-in leg of lamb is seasoned with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper a day or so ahead of time, then brought to room temperature just before roasting. After preheating the oven to 450F, and rubbing the roast with some olive oil, your meat goes into the oven for 25 minutes, then 3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth is poured over the meat and the heat is lowered to 325F. Once the meat has reached the internal temperature you're looking for, you take it out to rest, then carve and serve.

                                                  In spite of the simplicity of this recipe, I approached it with trepidation. I've mastered roast chicken but have had nothing but disasters with every other kind of meat I've ever tried to roast - I seem to over- or under-cook everything from turkey to ham. I'm very happy to say that in spite of a series of near-disasters, our results were great and extremely edible. It seemed like I did most of this stuff wrong - failed to season the meat ahead of time, didn't leave it to come to room temperature as long as I should've, had the wrong wine on hand, used a too-large pan, realized partway through roasting that I no longer had a meat thermometer (!)... but nevertheless, the recipe was forgiving. The finished product was truly delicious. The simple salt-and-pepper season was really all this meat needed - it browned wonderfully on the outside and was so moist and tasty. We served it with roast root vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes, and green peas - a great, colourful plateful of simple, delicious food. Two thumbs up from the meat-eaters in this family! I am looking forward to more roasting experiments - AFTER I replace my meat thermometer. :-)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                    Such a pleasure to try something new and intimidating and to get it right on the first shot, isn't it? Congratulations!

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      :-) Thanks, JoanN! It's very encouraging to get a good result even though I couldn't check the temperature of the meat.

                                                  2. Char Sui (Chinese Roast Pork) p. 245

                                                    Good, but not WOW enough for me to add it to a make-again list. The recipe called for boneless country-style pork ribs, and since my store was out of those, on advice from the meat-counter staff I used boneless pork sirloin instead. I suspect that this leaner cut was a factor in the dish being less flavorful.

                                                    1 1/2 inch strips of meat were marinated 8 hours in a sauce that combined hoison, soy, bourbon, brown sugar, chopped ginger, rice wine vinegar and five spice powder. I omitted the 1/4 tsp. of ground white pepper listed in the recipe.

                                                    The marinated meat strips were then roasted on a rack over a foil-lined pan at 325 degrees for 90 minutes, brushing with marinade and flipping over every 20 minutes. The final step was broiling the roasted strips 3 minutes per side "until sizzling and dark in spots". I probably should have done 1 minute per side -- mine got more blackened than we'd prefer.

                                                    The recommended sides - rice and a cucumber salad - were perfect for the meal.

                                                    1. Rolled Leg of Lamb Roasted on a Bed of Potatoes and Carrots, page 152.

                                                      This is a very basic dish. It's a boneless leg of lamb seasoned with S&P and roasted with potatoes, carrots, and rosemary and a little olive oil. It is a very simple one pan meal.

                                                      I had a very small (only about 1.5 lbs) boneless leg of lamb from the farmers market. Mine was already tied. She describes the technique for butterflying the leg of lamb to get more surface area for seasoning. I untied and unrolled the lamb and tried to follow her instructions for butterflying and rolling, but I'm not sure that I did it right. I wish she had a photo for this.

                                                      1. Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib) - p. 85

                                                        A prime rib roast (10-12 lbs) is seasoned with kosher salt, dry mustard, rosemary and black pepper, then refrigerated for 1-3 days. 3 hours before cooking, the meat is removed from the fridge; then it is roasted at 450F until it "begins to brown and sizzle", after which the oven temperature is lowered to 325F. The recipe suggests waiting at least 1.5 hrs before checking for doneness, and, once done, allowing the meat to rest for 25-40 min.

                                                        I'm enjoying this book, but if I have a complaint about it, it would be that the recipes are written with the assumption that I'm going to walk into my friendly local organic-free range butcher shop (because we all have one of those, right? haha!) and buy a piece of meat of exactly the size and shape the recipe calls for. Unfortunately, I'm working with whatever is in my freezer; I bought a 1/4 cow from a small producer, and his butcher supplies a somewhat random set of cuts of meat which tend to be on the smaller size. So far, not one of the recipes I've tried in "All About Roasting" has offered suggestions for what to do when my meat is a radically different size from what's called for in the recipe.

                                                        In the case of this recipe, the prime rib roast that I had in my freezer was less than half the size of the one MS calls for, and was enough for about 4 people - not the towering rib roast to serve the masses that she assumes I'm working with. Since I've never cooked prime rib before, I was relying on the recipe to hold my hand through the process of cooking the rib roast, but unfortunately, I ended up overcooking my roast. It was delicious (if somewhat overseasoned, but I can attribute that to my own inability to figure out the right quantities of mustard and rosemary to use), but far more well-done than I would have liked, even though I started checking for doneness early. I think part of the problem was that I couldn't see if my meat was browning and sizzling through the little door in my oven, and the recipe told me not to open the door before lowering the temperature... so I couldn't decide whether it was time to lower the temperature, and probably left the oven at 450 for far too long.

                                                        I'm not sure if anyone here is going to splurge on the humongous hunk of prime rib to serve 10-12 people that is recommended, but I'd love to know how this turns out when made with the correct size of roast, as I am fully willing to attribute my problems with this recipe to user error.

                                                        1. Basic Roasted Rack of Lamb, pg 116

                                                          I wanted something celebratory, but relatively low maintenance for Christmas Eve since I knew I would have my 3 young children underfoot while I was preparing the dinner. I decided on rack of lamb and looked to Molly S for help with the timing.

                                                          I had 3 racks for our 7 people (3 children, 4 adults) but the timing was unchanged. I modified her basic recipe slightly by rubbing the racks with pulverized garlic, salt and chopped rosemary, thyme and mint about 3 hours prior to searing. Some of the garlic and herbs burned during the high heat sear, but I thought the garlic and herbs added a lovely flavor to the lamb (the basic recipe has only S + P)

                                                          You sear the racks on both sides in a skillet and then roast in a moderate oven (325 convection in my case) until desired doneness. Her time guides (25-30 minutes for medium rare to medium) were right on target. At 25 minutes, my racks were a perfect rosy medium rare.

                                                          This was delicious, elegant, special and easy. Not a cheap dinner (got the beautifully frenched and trimmed racks at Whole foods), but I was hoping to trade a pricier cut for a celebratory dinner without all the stress. This was perfect. I was grateful for the recipes clear instructions and on target timing so my pricey meat could really shine. Would follow this technique again for a special occasion.

                                                          I served with roasted potatoes, sauteed red chard, and roasted cremini mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. The kids were thrilled with their meat "lollipops" and all adults felt pampered.

                                                          1. Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fennel Two Ways; p.175

                                                            This sear-roast recipe uses only one skillet, but otherwise the cooking technique is very similar to the Basic Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin. Fennel flavors are in abundance, appearing in both the dry rub and the vegetable saute.

                                                            In addition to toasted, crushed fennel seeds, the dry marinade consists of fresh thyme, and salt & pepper. The pork is rubbed with this mixture, then refrigerated for 4-24 hours (mine sat for the full 24). After searing the tenderloins on all sides in a hot skillet, they are removed to a plate. Sliced fennel and garlic are added to the hot skillet to brown a bit, white wine or vermouth is poured over, and the veggies simmer, covered, until crisp-tender. The pork is then placed back in the skillet on top of the fennel mixture, smeared with a pat or two of butter, and placed in the oven to roast to an internal temperature of 140-145F (I usually aim for 145 degrees).

                                                            The pork was juicy and wonderful, and I loved it paired with the fennel and pan juices; I may try adding sliced, tart apples towards the end of the vegetable saute next time. I also enjoy this method for preparing pork tenderloin as a dry rub does such a nice job of infusing flavor into the meat.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                              I made this again last night and tossed unpeeled apple slices (Fuji) into the pan with the fennel for that last minute of saute time - the apples finish cooking in the oven and are indeed a wonderful compliment to the dish. I only had Fuji on hand but think a sweet apple may even be a better choice than a tart one.

                                                            2. Maple-brined Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Apples, Onions, and Mustard Bread Crumbs (p. 207)

                                                              I've never been a big fan of pork loin; I've often found it rather dry and bland. This dish wasn't like that. It was very moist and had good flavor.

                                                              First you brine the pork roast for 24 hours. The brine has water, salt, maple syrup, rosemary, black peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaves.

                                                              The pork is removed from the brine. After resting a bit, it is dried and seared on all sides. You then deglaze the pan with 1 C of apple cider and reduce to 1/2.

                                                              The roast is placed in a roasting pan atop apples, onions, and rosemary tossed with butter, olive oil, and S&P. You pour the reduced apple cider around the pan.

                                                              You also make a glaze by boiling 1 C of apple cider until it is reduced to 1/3 cup. That is mixed with 1 T of maple syrup and 1 T of mustard. Half the glaze is brushed on the pork loin and you roast at 325 F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, you brush with the rest of the glaze and continue roasting (about 30 min) until temperature of 145 F.

                                                              You also make some toasted bread crumbs. Mix fresh bread crumbs, butter, Dijon Mustard, and rosemary and toast.

                                                              The pork is served with the bread crumbs on top and some apple onion mixture on the side. This was good, although surprisingly, I really didn't notice the maple flavor. Don't skip the bread crumbs. They really added something.