When we want to prepare a festive meal for a special occasion, we like to revisit ancient recipes, like mincemeat. Such foods often have a sweet-sour-spicy character that was popular in the Middle Ages (and, indeed, can be traced back to the cooking of ancient Rome). The French call this aigre-douce, to the Italians it’s agro dolce, and that elusive flavor is provided here by verjuice (a very sour liquid pressed from unripe grapes), orange juice, and a rich stock sweetened with dates, currants, almonds, and sweet mace. The intricate counterpoint of flavors is marvelously medieval, and deeply satisfying—everything one could desire at the center of a holiday feast.–Gary Allen, LC Food HIstory
LC Renaissance Recipe Note
Betcha didn’t know that tossing a little spice into your stock makes you a renaissance cook, did you? Well, go ahead, whatcha waiting for?
Prime Rib Roast with Orange-Glazed Onions Recipe
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, not including resting | Serves 6
- For the renaissance stock
- 4 1/2 pounds chicken parts (necks, backs, wings, giblets)
- One 8-ounce lamb shank
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs mint
- 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 1 whole mace
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
- 8 dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup currants
- For the prime rib roast
- 6 large onions, quartered
- 1 cup finely chopped assorted fresh herbs (parsley, marjoram, tarragon, rosemary, hyssop, etc.)
- One 10-pound prime rib roast, bone in (about 6 ribs)
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
- 2 tablespoons verjuice
- 1/4 cup Renaissance stock
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- Make the renaissance stock
- 1. Place the chicken and shank bone in a large pot. Add 2 3/4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the impurities that rise to the top.
- 2. Add the rosemary, bay leaves, mint, parsley, mace, and onions and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the wine, almonds, dates, and currants and simmer for 1 hour, periodically skimming any impurities that rise to the top. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Make the prime rib roast
- 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- 4. Toss half the onions and herbs in a roasting pan. Reserve the other half of the onions in a plastic bag. Season the prime rib roast with lots of salt and pepper and place on top of the herb-onion mixture.
- 5. Roast the prime rib for 1 1/2 hours, then add the remaining onions to the pan. Continue to roast for another hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C) for medium. [For medium-rare, pull the roast out when the thermometer reaches 135°F (57°C)]
- 6. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in a sauce pan until reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 7. Remove the roast from the pan and let rest.
- 8. Add the verjuice and reduced Renaissance Stock to the pan and stir to loosen the onions and drippings. Puree 1/4 cup of the onions, the juices from the pan, and the orange juice until smooth and stir in the orange zest.
- 9. Place onions in the center of a serving platter and top with the roast. Serve the onion-verjuice sauce in a side dish.
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Prime Rib Roast with Orange-Glazed Onions Recipe © 2003 Francine Segan. Photo © 2003 Tim Turner. All rights reserved.