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Herb-and-Salt-Crusted Standing Rib Roast with Morel Sauce

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Serves 8-10

A salt, herb, and flour crust blankets the standing rib roast while it cooks, sealing in all the juices and infusing the meat with flavor. The result is a tender, perfectly medium-rare roast beef that’s seasoned all the way through. With a creamy sauce of dried morels and Marsala, it’s luxury on a plate.

  • 2 cups kosher or sea salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme (stems included)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped juniper berries
  • 2 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • One 3-bone standing beef rib roast (about 7 lb.), cut from the loin end, chine bone and fat cap removed
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • Morel Sauce
Tip:
It’s a good idea to order your beef rib roast ahead of time. Ask the butcher to remove the chine bone and fat cap for you

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup water with the salt, egg white, pepper, thyme, juniper, garlic, and parsley. Mix on medium speed until blended. On medium-low speed, mix in 2 cups of the flour, adding more as needed, until the dough is firm and feels slightly dry and stiff, like Play-Doh. Continue to mix for 2 minutes. The dough should be smooth and firm but not sticky; add more flour if necessary. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.

An hour before you’re ready to roast, put the beef on the counter and let sit at room temperature.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and put the roast meat side down in the skillet; sear until deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the roast from the pan and set it bone side down on a rack in a roasting pan.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Drape the dough over the meat, tucking it in on all sides. Roast until an instant-read thermometer in the middle of the roast registers 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium rare, 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours. Let rest for 20 minutes, then remove and discard the crust. (After removing the crust, the roast can rest for up to 30 minutes more.) Carve and serve with the Morel Sauce.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 760; Fat (g): 50; Fat Calories (kcal): 440; Saturated Fat (g): 24; Protein (g): 62; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 200; Cholesterol (mg): 220; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer; food styling by Melissa Hamilton

Fantastic. Best rib roast we ever made. Like the other reviewers, we skipped the morel sauce after seeing how expensive they were, but I did make a jus. I'm laughing because I just assumed that the juniper berries that the recipe called for were supposed to be the dried kind--that's what we used. Where does one find fresh?

I really enjoyed this recipe. It was alot of fun to make. The meat came out a perfect medium rare almost throughout the entire roast. I agree with the other reviewer about the morels, they are hard to find and expensive. I just substituted a mix of dried mushrooms that I found at Whole Foods.

Tender Tender Tender and delicious. Did not make the Morel sauce due to family allergies. One negative was the lack of brown fat drippings for gravy for the Yorkshire Puddings (Popovers). Most of the meats juices went into the crust so made what drippings there were into a gravy but it was not eatable because of the salt levels. Some diners found the meat too salty. Will make it again and see what happens with a lower salt content in the crust?????

I made this for extended family supper on the 26th - a 7-rib AAA prime. It was fabulous even tho' it was a little more done than med-rare due to timing problems with family activities at another house. The meat was succulent, so tender that no knives were needed. My 101 year old mother was able eat it with no problems whatsoever. The crust was a lot of fun. I had all the ingredients and the herbs infused the meat with wonderful aromas. I wish I had taken a picture - think body cast! I made the morel sauce even tho'I only had one oz of mushrooms. Scraped some of the "goo" from the bottom of the roaster and incorporated it into the soaking liquid before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. The 2 cups of heavy cream made it really rich. Even with one oz of morels, we could still taste the flavour. Hubby said this was by far the best roast ever - in our 44 years of marriage!This may well be the new tradition for prime rib in our primarily Chinese family!

I made this recipe for Christmas this year and everyone felt that this was by far the best standing rib roast that I had ever made. There were a couple of issues with the crust, however. First, my regular grocery store did not have juniper berries but I was able to locate dried juniper berries at my local Whole Foods store. Also, I had some difficulty with the herb and salt crust dough and it it didn't hold together very well when rolled out and draped over the meat. I needed to add more flour to get a less sticky dough, as noted in the recipe. This may take an attempt or two to get right. However, it worked very well and resulted in a very juicy and flavorful roast. I did not end up making the morel sauce. I was able to locate dried morels at Whole Foods, but at $20 per ounce the morel sauce would have cost almost as much as the roast! Instead, I made a simple green peppercorn brown sauce that everyone loved.

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