Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

ROYAL ROAST.(Food)

Byline: Story by Charlotte Balcomb Lane Of the Journal

A fabulous beef is a regal presence on holiday table

In the Dickensian view of Christmas, a roasted beef crowns the holiday dinner table. Brown and crusty on the outside, juicy and rare on the inside, a roast prime rib of beef symbolizes a lot that the humble turkey just can't project wealth, indulgence, celebration and a taste of the good life.

But for American cooks shopping for a taste of that good life, the choices in the supermarket meat counter can be downright confusing.

First, there is the issue of what to buy. For example, what is the difference between a ribeye roast, a standing rib roast, a tenderloin roast or an eye of round roast? They're all roasts, so how different can they be?

Plenty different, says a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author, Chris Schlesinger. Schlesinger is the author of a new book published by Morrow (hardcover, $35) called "How to Cook Meat."

In a telephone interview from his Boston-area restaurant, the East Coast Grill, Schlesinger said selecting the best cut at the best price for your budget requires a little study into the art of meat-cutting.

Schlesinger suggests three classic roasts to celebrate the holiday, but each comes from what he calls the "big money" section. They are from the tenderest and most flavorful part of beef.

The fourth is considerably less expensive, but also tougher and less flavorful.

Schlesinger has a favorite method of cooking all roasts, which produces a dark caramelized exterior and juicy pink interior. He bakes the meat at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduces the heat to 300 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time. …

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