If there is one dish that you definitely want to try this winter, let it be the crown roast. Oh, yes, Your Royal Highness, this serving can do a lot of harm to your sanity, but it will be the most beautiful holiday centerpiece you’d ever had. Lamb or pork, stuffed or not, mushroom dressing or gravy – these are the things you’d have to decide for yourself because there is no ‘best’ for everyone. We are here just to inspire you, to get you on the bright side of the cooking and to make you feel like a monarch, at least at the dining table for once.
There are several checkpoints that can pose a threat to the final dish. First, and most obvious, is the cutting question. The lucky person’s butcher knows the crown thing and will make all the necessary slits here and there and may even help to secure the twine. But chances are your butcher has never heard of crown roast and will stare at you like a stuck pig. Or a lamb.
Speaking of which. If you want to cook with the former, try to hit for 1 loin (it’s 10 to 12 ribs), if you choose is the latter – get 2 racks (6 to 8 ribs each). Clean the bones of meat with a paring knife, it’s called frenching. Then make a small slit into the meat in between each rib so that it looks like an accordion that you can wrap into a circle easily. Then comes the most irritating part – working with the twine. But fret not! Just make sure you’ve rubbed your rack with salt and spices of your choice and, with the ribs facing outward, wrap the rack around onto itself, make the ends meet and secure them with twine (make little incisions somewhere near the bottom of each rib and tie everything neatly). Make sure the loin is inside the crown.
The second objective is not to ruin the meat during cooking. For some people, this checkpoint is where the whole game may end, but if you follow a few simple steps, we promise everything is gonna be OK. First of all, get the bloody thermometer already! Ask Santa or your dear half to give it to you as a present (or better as a part of the present!). Then preheat your oven to 90°C / 200°F, place the crown on a rack set in a baking sheet and roast until the whole thing gets as high as 50°C / 122°F. That’s 1,5 hours.
Then remove the crown from the oven, crack the heat up to the max, allow it to get up there and pop your royal treat inside. Don’t forget to cover rib bones with foil to prevent burning. Check the roast temperature every 3-5 minutes until the meat is well browned and a thermometer registers 54-57°C / 130-135°F for medium. This will take 10-15 minutes.
Now all you’ll have to cook is the stuffing. Buckwheat with onions and mushrooms or couscous with mint and parsley are both worth trying. Cook accordingly and put everything inside the crown. Way for the Royal Highness!