Today is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, the real-life saint that inspired Santa Claus. In years go by, this feast day was a big deal in our house, if for no other reason (besides the Catholic implications) than it was a great way to bring the “present giving” aspect of Christmas to a better suited day, leaving Christmas commercial free.
We invited friends, had a wonderful party and exchange gifts. Jolly old Saint Nick even managed to stop by to spend time with the children. It made sense, since Christmas was his busiest day of the year! (See A Feast for Saint Nicholas for all the yummy details). Way back then, we even managed to attend the Children’s Mass before hurrying home to greet our guests. In a lot of ways, I miss those days. Kiddo isn’t a kid anymore, he’s a grown man. Yet I still wanted to do something special for the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas.
When I came across a recipe for Cracked Peppercorn Rib Roast, I knew it could easily be adapted for this day. Instead of using black peppercorns, I used both red and green peppercorns to bring a little of the color of the season into the presentation. (Granted, it doesn’t “pop” with red and green, I know it’s there, and that’s enough for me). Instead of adding garlic powder to the seasoning rub, I inserted the garlic slivers directly into the meat.
My first attempt at this new recipe was a learning experience. As with most new recipes, there were some mistakes. First, I bought a top sirloin beef roast on sale rather than a more expensive choice cut such as a rib roast. It was a little tougher than I had hoped. Secondly, I followed the original roasting timetable, pulling the roast from the oven when the internal temperature reached 135 degrees, then wrapped in foil and allowed the roast to rest 15 minutes prior to carving. The recipe promised that the roast’s internal temperature would continue to rise another 10 degrees while resting, cooking the center to perfection. While this is true for a tri-tip or steak, a thick hunk of roast beef does not continue to cook all the way through once pulled from the oven. For me, that was fine as I prefer my meat more to the medium-rare side. Hubby and Kiddo needed to eat the end cuts to get a medium piece of meat. I’ve adjusted the recipe to compensate for these mistakes. Live and learn – now I’ve got a good recipe for a Garlic Roast Beef.
Cracked Peppercorn and Herb Rubbed Garlic Roast Beef
6 pounds Rib Roast, well trimmed
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Corn, coarsely cracked
1 Tablespoon Green Pepper Corn, coarsely cracked
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Mustard, Ground
1/2 Cup Beef Broth
About an hour before cooking, remove roast from refrigerator and rub salt all over meat. The salt will begin to break down the proteins of the meat and help make it more tender. Let roast rest on the counter.
Place both red and green peppercorns into a bag and seal shut. Using a rolling pin, mallet, heavy skillet or small hammer, crush peppercorns. Divide crushed peppercorns into two small containers and set aside until ready to use.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel garlic cloves and slice into slivers. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut slits into top and bottom of the roast, enough for the number of garlic slivers you are going to use. Push garlic sliver into each slit, pressing as far in as possible with the tip of your finger.
Line a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) Place meat on V-rack and center on pan, leaner side up. Mix equal parts seasonings into small bowls with the peppercorn.
Pour one bowl of peppercorn mixture over the top of the roast and spread out to coat the meat. Press and rub the seasonings over the roast. Turn roast over, fatter side up and repeat with remaining peppercorn mixture.
Roast, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, pour broth into the bottom of the pan and continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 145°F for medium-rare (1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours) or 160°F for medium (2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours). The broth will create steam in the oven, helping the roast to remain moist while cooking. Once desired temperature is reached, remove from oven. Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving.
If desired, make a gravy using the pan drippings to serve along side the roast. The pan dripping gravy is equally delicious with mashed potatoes.