Classic Holiday Cooking

Looking for that classic meal that's sure to please your holiday guests?

Chef Charlie Palmer's classic rib roast just might be the ticket for your holiday entertaining this year.

Palmer, of Aureole NY and LV, shared on "The Early Show" how to prepare this affordable holiday dish with some unconventional winter side dishes that will make this meal one you won't forget.

Recipes Galore

Charlie Palmer 's Classic Rib Roast

Equipment:
1. Sturdy medium-sized roasting pan with low sides (10 X 14-inches ought to do it)
2. Oven thermometer to guarantee the internal heat in the oven is where it should be
3. Instant-read meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of the meat

Preparation:
The goal here is a roast with beautifully browned crust and tender interior. Take the rib roast out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for at least forty-five minutes. Preheat oven to 450F and place the empty roasting pan inside heat up during the process. When the roast is placed in the pan, the bottom will already begin to brown as soon as it hits the hot surface.

There is plenty of external fat on a rib roast so I don't rub the surface with oil. But I do use the tip of a paring knife to lightly score the fat in a crosshatch pattern so I can rub liberal amounts of salt and pepper right down in there (using Bourbon Smoked Peppercorns here). This creates better flavor and the excess falls off during the cooking process. To purchase the bourbon smoked pepper, go to http://wws.bourbonbarrelfoods.com.

(For medium rare) - Place your roast (fat side up) in the preheated pan in the 450 F degree oven for 45 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350F and cook until the instant read thermometer probe inserted horizontally into the middle of the eye of the meat reads 125F. (While the meat rests, carryover cooking will raise the internal temperature as much as 10 degrees.)

This takes about 12 to 15 minutes per pound or about another hour and a half to hour and forty-five minutes (adjust according to the weight of your roast.) Transfer to cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes. This is critical; don't poke or prod or insert anything into the roast.

CARVING:
When you're ready to carve, use a slicer knife with a long sharp supple blade. Press the blade lengthwise against the bones and follow the line of the meat down to the cutting board. Remove the "eye" roast and slice into generous portions. Save the bones (they're the best part) for your favorite guests.

Bacon-and-Onion Turnip Potato Gratin

3 large Idaho potatoes
4 large white turnips
1/2 lb bacon, diced
3 white onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1/4 c fresh thyme leaves
2cchicken stock
2c white wine
2T unsalted butter

Method:
Peel the potatoes and put them in a bowl of cold water to keep them from discoloring. Peel and the white turnips; set aside.

Line a plate with paper towels. Render the bacon in a sauté pan until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve on the prepared plate. Add the onions to the rendered fat and cook over medium heat until nicely caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper and remove the pan from the heat. Saving a few leaves for garnish, stir in the thyme.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish.

Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Slice the turnips equally thin. Arrange two layers of potatoes in the dish, overlapping the slices. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Layer half the onions over the potatoes and sprinkle with about one-third of the bacon.

Add two more layers of turnips, overlapping the slices, then the remaining onions and more bacon, saving some of the bacon to sprinkle on top. Add two final layers of potatoes, then pour the chicken stock and wine over them. Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the top and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the reserved thyme leaves. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the top is light golden brown and the potatoes are completely tender through¬ out (test them with a skewer).

Crispy Cardoons

Serves 6

2 quarts Water
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
4 large Cardoon ribs (1 pound), ends and leaves trimmed
2 large Egg yolks beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 large Egg, beaten
1 cup homemade dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges

Method:
In a large bowl, combine the water and lemon juice. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer strings of the ribs. Cut the ribs into 3-inch lengths, adding them to the lemon water as you peel the remaining stalks. Drain the cardoon ribs, transfer them to a large saucepan of lightly salted water and boil until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, pat dry and let cool.

Combine the egg yolks and egg together in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the cardoons in the eggs, then coat cardoons in the crumbs, press slightly to help bread crumbs stick. Shake off any excess and set the cardoons on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over moderately-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardoons, a few pieces at a time. Fry cardoons until golden and crisp, about 1-2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and serve with lemon wedges.

Rutabaga Flan

Serves 6

4 cups Rutabagas, peeled, diced
1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
4 oz Butter
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Milk
6 ea Egg yolks
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:
In a large sauté pan, add rutabaga and sugar. Cook until rutabaga is caramelized. Add butter and continue to caramelize. Do not burn. If mixture sticks, add some water to loosen. Continue cooking until soft. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream and milk together just to a scald, remove and cool. Using a blender, puree the rutabaga with a 1/4 of the cream and milk mixture, until puree is smooth. Add the balance of the cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pass the rutabaga puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add egg yolks to strained puree and mix thoroughly. Spray six- 4 oz ramekins with non-stick spray. Spoon custard into ramekins filling 3/4 full.

Place the flans in a large square shallow pan. Fill pan with hot water to cover 1/2 of the base of the ramekins. Cover pan with tin foil. Cook in a 300 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Jiggle the custards slightly, custard should be solid, if liquidly that are not fully cooked. Remove and keep covered until ready to serve.
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