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A classic roast: Simple steps to holiday perfection

Yorkshire pudding is notoriously fickle. But “if the cooking gods are with you, you’ll get “a light, airy top.”

In our home in the north Georgia foothills, this is a Christmas-only dish, said Anne Quatrano in Summerland (Rizzoli). My paternal grandmother always served a rib roast that day, and what I remember most about those dinners is the “decadent, savory” Yorkshire pudding that she made with the pan drippings. Today, my husband and I use beef that we dry-age for 28 days at our Atlanta store, Star Provisions. If you don’t have a butcher who’ll french the bones, use a sharp knife at home to scrape away the meat and fat until the tips of the ribs are exposed.

Yorkshire pudding is notoriously fickle. But “if the cooking gods are with you, as they always were with my grandmother,” you’ll get “a light, airy top” using our recipe, which we’ve adapted from Nanny’s old Gourmet cookbook. A popover pan “yields the most dramatic results,” but a cupcake pan will do the job too.

Recipe of the week

Standing rib roast of beef with Yorkshire pudding

  • 1 lb baby carrots, peeled
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 lb baby turnips
  • 4 sprigs each parsley, thyme, and rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 12-lb, 7-bone rib roast of beef, frenched

Preheat oven to 450. Toss vegetables with herbs and oil. Season to taste. Spread in an even layer in a roasting pan. Pat rib roast dry; season with 1 tbsp each salt and pepper, and place fat side up on vegetables in roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350; roast for 2 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120 for rare, 130 for medium rare, or 140 for medium. (When done, increase oven temperature to 450 to cook Yorkshire pudding.) Remove roast to a platter, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Reserve pan drippings.

To carve, run knife between bone and meat to separate ribs. Slice meat. Transfer slices and ribs to plates. Garnish with herbs and serve with roasted vegetables. Serves 8–10.

Yorkshire pudding

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2¾ tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp hot pan drippings from the rib roast

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Add milk; beat for 1 minute. Working in three batches, add flour, whisking between additions until smooth. Whisk in salt and 1 tbsp pan drippings. Let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450. Fill each of 12 cups of a popover pan with 1 tsp pan drippings. Heat pan in oven for 5 minutes. Remove pan and fill each cup halfway full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until puddings are puffed and golden brown.

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