A Traditional Christmas Feast

This Christmas, treat your family to a traditional meal of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. No one will complain!

By FamilyTime


Holiday parties are for fancy foods and once-a-year treats. Christmas dinner is about tradition.

What is more traditional than a juicy standing rib roast and light-as-air Yorkshire pudding? Inspired by the Victorian Christmases of Dickens' times, the meal is designed to please everyone.

Best of all for the cook, nothing is hard to make!

Begin with the Best
The secret to a good roast is high-quality meat. Buy the standing rib roast from a butcher or a supermarket with a good meat department -- preferably one with an available butcher in case you have questions.

A four-rib roast weighing seven to eight pounds is plenty for eight to 10 people. If you need a larger roast, consider the size of your oven before you buy a huge piece of meat. You might do better with two smaller roasts.

When you roast the meat, be sure to preheat the oven for at least 20 minutes so it reaches the correct 325°F.  (Use an oven thermometer.) The roast itself will bring the oven temperature down when it's put in the oven and because you want the oven to regain its proper temperature quickly, make sure it's good and hot to begin with.

Use a meat thermometer as well as time estimates to determine the doneness of the meat. This can be one you insert in the meat from the start (take care it does not touch the bone) or, better yet, rely on an instant-read thermometer.

For medium-rare meat, the thermometer should register 130 to 140°F. Take the meat from the oven when it's about five degrees lower than desired. As it rests on the countertop, it will continue to cook and the temperature will rise.

This resting time is crucial. It allows the natural juices to gather in the center of the meat. During roasting they have percolated through the meat, helping it cook and conducting flavor and heat--and also leaking from the meat. Resting halts this process.

The Trimmings

Yorkshire pudding is the traditional accompaniment to roast beef. Its light bready consistency is just right for sopping up pan juices and gravy.

Leavened primarily by hot air, Yorkshire pudding, like popovers and soufflés, waits for no man, woman, or cranky child. When it's puffed and golden, it must be served. Otherwise it will deflate -- and much of its appeal will deflate with it.

We suggest an easy green beans casserole and sautéed carrots tossed at the last minute with salty black olives. You can add a green salad, if you like, dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

The Finale
Because chocolate is universally beloved, we suggest a single-layer chocolate cake sheathed in a dark chocolate glaze and decorated with drizzles of white chocolate.

This is not a high-standing layer cake, but a single layer of dark, moist, luscious chocolate seduction.

A traditional Christmas day feast is a lovely way to celebrate the holidays. Merry Christmas!