3 Simple roasts

Two roasted racks of lamb, seasoned with mustard,

Two roasted racks of lamb, seasoned with mustard, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme. (December 2012) (Credit: Marge Perry)

Each of these roasts is a show-stopper, the star of a festive holiday table. Yet each is simple enough for even a novice cook to prepare.

TIP To cook a roast to the right degree of doneness, use an instant-read thermometer, and check the temperature 15 minutes before you expect the roast to be ready.

1. ROAST RACK OF LAMB

Racks vary in size: figure on 2 to 3 chops per person depending on the size of the racks and the appetites of your diners.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 (1 3/4-pound) racks of lamb, 8 chops each

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine oil, mustard, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Pat evenly over meaty part of chops. Allow racks to stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Season evenly with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place one rack with bones facing up and meaty part of chop facing outward on pan. Lean second rack on first, again with meatiest part of chops facing outward. Alternate the bones from each rack to interlace them.

3. Roast 22 to 26 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted through center of chops (parallel to counter) registers 125 (for medium-rare). Wait 5 minutes before cutting into chops. (Temperature will rise another 5 degrees.)

Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 367 calories, 29 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 26 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 424 mg sodium

 

2. PORK LOIN WITH POMEGRANATE-CHERRY SAUCE

Make the sauce when the roast first goes in the oven; it may be reheated over a low flame.

1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, tied at 2-inch intervals

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Several sprigs thyme

Several sprigs rosemary

1 cup shallots

1 cup red wine

2 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup lower-sodium beef (or chicken) broth

1 cup dried cherries

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a roasting pan with cooking spray.

2. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium high; add pork and brown on all sides, a total of 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan and tuck long sprigs of herbs under strings along top of roast, forming a single line of herbs down center. Brush entire roast with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and place in oven until thickest part of roast reaches 140 degrees, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand, tented with foil, 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make sauce in the pan in which the roast was browned. Over medium heat, add shallots and cook, stirring, 3 minutes until softened. Add red wine, pomegranate juice, broth, cherries and mustard; stir, incorporating bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half; about 15 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water; stir into the sauce and boil 2 minutes longer, until the sauce is thickened.

4. Remove the twine from the roast and slice; serve with the sauce.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 365 calories, 40 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 359 mg sodium

 

3. HERB, GARLIC AND MUSTARD-CRUSTED FILET OF BEEF

Coat the beef with the mustard-herb crust early in the day.

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

4 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed (and tied as needed)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow broiler pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine the garlic, basil, parsley, thyme and oregano; mix well. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper, then set on prepared broiler pan. Rub beef with mustard, then coat with the herb-garlic mixture.

3. Roast the tenderloin until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135 to 145 degrees for medium-rare, about 40 minutes.

4. Transfer beef to a platter or cutting board. Tent beef loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 253 calories, 35 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 614 mg sodium