Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes

Romantic Dinner Party for Two

Dinnerfor2 (6)

Well, the title says two, but really we probably could have fed 4-5 people with the amount of food I made. Did I mention I’m bad at cooking small quantities? The advantage, however, to cooking big is there’s always leftovers. Reducing the amount of nights I cook in a week and replacing that smelly deli sandwich with something actually edible.

My husband and I kept things quiet over New Years. Dinner on New Year’s Eve at Talde (don’t worry, you’ll hear ALL about that soon), then a nice dinner in on New Year’s Day. We got a rib roast as part of our quarter cow from Lewis Waite Farm. Normally, something to savor at a large dinner party, our roast was just shy of 3lbs, so better intended for a more intimate party. The roast has been sitting in our freezer for some time now. Partially because I’ve been to lazy to deal with it but also a bit intimidated to prepare my first roast. Yes, you heard right, I’m a roast virgin.

Determined to start the New Year off with a bang, I decided to make it the center of our New Years Day feast. I rubbed the roast with a horseradish herb butter before cooking it and along with Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and a smaller lazier version of my Sinful Potato Gratin, the menu was set. And of course, because this was a special dinner, regular dinner rolls just wouldn’t do. Instead we had Brie Stuffed Rosemary Rolls with homemade butter. But what about dessert, you’re thinking? Well, that’s still a surprise. You’ll just have to wait a few days longer for that one 🙂 Hint…I did not make a dozen cupcakes for the two of us!

Ooey Gooey Brie Stuffed Rosemary Dinner Rolls
Ooey Gooey Brie Stuffed Rosemary Dinner Rolls

My biggest challenge was knowing how to cook the thing. Google Prime Rib Roast or Rib Roast and you’ll come across a ton of tasty recipes, however most rely on a 8-16 pound roast. I obviously wasn’t going to cook my barely 3 pound roast for nearly 3 hours. A lot of results suggested I brown it, then cook it 15 minutes per pound, but because I planned on slattering on a rub, that wasn’t really an option. So instead I cooked it on high heat for 15 minutes, undisturbed then reduced and cooked it until the roast reached 125°F (rare) in the center. I wish I had undercooked it a little further, because after letting it rest for 15 minutes, I had more of a medium to medium well than medium rare as I’d hoped.

Perfect Dinner for Two -- Horseradish Crusted Roast, Gratin Potatoes, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Dinner for Two — Horseradish Crusted Roast, Gratin Potatoes, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

The bonus to this dish was lots of left overs. My husband ate the meal as it was intended, but trying to cut some calories after the holidays, I forwent the rich sides and thinly sliced the roast over a light salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, red onions and balsamic. It was hard to tell what was better–the original or the left overs.

Dinnerfor2 (5)

Horseradish & Herb Crusted Rib Roast (Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine)

  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 Garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1/2 c horseradish
  • 3 lb Rib Roast
  • Salt and pepper

In a small food processor or blender, puree butter, garlic, herbs and horseradish. This can be done a few days in advance, just remember to bring it to room temperature before using.

Take the rib roast out of the refrigerator and let warm to room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500°F. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place roast fat side up (rib side down) on a roasting rack. Generously slather roast with butter mixture. (Think of it more as patting it into the skin rather than rubbing, or you’ll make a huge mess!).

Before Roast Photo
Before Roast Photo

Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue cooking 13-15 minutes per pound. Start checking the roast temperature about 25 minutes into the reduced cook time. Roast is done when a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the roast reads between 115-120°F for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve!

After Roast Photo
After Roast Photo–YUM!
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