DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

Christmas Dinner Deconstruction...

What worked — The slow-roasted roast beast was terrific. Rie bought three rib roasts, of 5, 6, and 7 lbs*, which made it easy to sear the biggest, shove it in the 250° oven, then start searing the next one, and so on. Roast for 25 minutes per lb to an internal temperature of 125°. I used the probe on my Polder timer for that. They came out in the same order they went in, and all were perfectly done by the time I finally got around to carving them.

* Yes, there was WAY too much. Seven adults, two teens, and two small children were miscounted as 13 people. suzieh1 got to take the entire 7 lb roast home with her.

The creamed Vidalia onions au gratin were amazingly good. I combined a couple of food network recipes and added some cheese. I will post the recipe.

The first thing I did when I started cooking Christmas morning was to but the three quarts of beef stock I'd made on Friday on the stove to reduce down to about a quart or so. I split that between the gravy and the Tchoupitoulas sauce**, and both were terrific.

** The disconcerting thing about Tchoupitoulas sauce is that there is no single recipe. It varies (A LOT) by chef and type of meat being sauced. For example, I found my version in The Commander's Palace New Orleans Cookbook, by Ella and Dick Brennan. That one was meant for beef tenderloin. I have seen a totally different recipe for the same sauce at the same restaurant in another official Commander's Palace cookbook for Veal Chop Tchoupitoulas, which, btw, is the best dish I've ever eaten. I've seen very different recipes for chicken and seafood versions. My own version is different, too. The only recurring ingredients in all appear to be butter and cayenne pepper.

What didn't work — Yorkshire pudding is too big a pain in the neck to do unless there is a separate oven just for that. The problem is that it has to be the last thing made so that they're crispy and warm for dinner, and it takes 30 minutes at very high temperatures during which time you cannot open the oven door***. So you can't do anything else with the oven in that time. In the event, the roasts were done 1½ hours ahead of time, and were resting while other stuff which needed 350° (onions, rolls, potatoes) went into the oven. By the time we finally got around to putting the puddings in, people were getting antsy. We started eating 5 minutes before the puddings came out of the oven. They were good, but not enough so that it was worth scheduling the whole meal around them. Not enough bang for the effort.

*** Plus the step were you heat the muffin tins with some beef drippings at 450° prior to adding the batter sets off the smoke detector.

Other notes — There was an inadvertent switch from roasted potatoes to mashed. Usually, you put the potatoes in about an hour before the roast is done, but that assumes you're at something like 350°. The oven was much lower than that. I was going to put them them in after the roasts were done with the onions au gratin, but I knew there wouldn't be enough time, so I parboiled them. When they were done, I dumped them in one of the beefy roasting pans, but realized that they were a bit more than parboiled. So I had Jane mash them. They turned out pretty well with the residual pan drippings in them.

Jane also made the green beans. She took a sack of frozen string beans, nuked it for six minutes, then opened the bag and sauteed the beans in butter with some onion powder.

If ever I do this again, I need to make detailed checklists. I forgot to bring so many things down with me that I'd intended to — peas, beef drippings, sugar-free whipped cream, white wine, the spaghetti squashes I grew for my mom that I forgot to bring down at Thanksgiving...

Eldest niece has volunteered to do next Christmas. Let's hear it for the next generation!
Tags: christmas, cooking, food, recipes

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