Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Break the Rules; Sometimes It Works

When is Christmas dinner? On Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Day?
I know, it depends on your family tradition. I didn't know when Christmas dinner was when I was growing up. Mom was always changing the family tradition. One year she had us all open every present on Christmas Eve! I was horrified. What would Christmas Day be? (Nothing, as it turned out. And no special dinner. What a waste.)
Cranky and I decided, long ago, that Christmas dinner would be on Christmas Day. It just makes sense. It's Christmas. And Christmas Eve is a little bit fraught with anxiety; no fun munching on a green bean casserole then. For Christmas Eve, we usually go a little swanky-appetizers style. Last Saturday we had fresh Dungeness crab with squeezes of lemon and dabs of mayo.
OK, not the point, really. Whichever day you choose for your feast, I have a little suggestion. If you are having roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, that is. The reliable old recipe for Yorkie from the Joy of Cooking can't be beat. But I beat it the other night, easy-peasy and worth a dare.
The cookbook advises that you cook the pud in a glass or ceramic dish. Fine; I've always done so, and got great poofy corners, but sad, sunken middles. The other night, we had seared our beef in a cast-iron skillet before oven time, and there was a great, well-flavored vessel just sitting there.
We didn't have enough beef fat, but we slid the skillet into the oven with pats of butter until everything got hot and brown. Yes, brown butter! I scraped the pudding batter right into the forbidden skillet, and got a souffle effect like I've never seen.
A work of explosive culinary art. Don't have to wait a whole year to try this again. (But what will we call the dinner?)


cookiecrumb said...


Ms Brown Mouse said...

We shall call it YorkiePuddingdom!

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Yes! Yes, we shall call it the Feast of YorkiePuddingdom. Ta ra!

Little Pots & Pans Co. said...

I really want it to be light out at 6pm, and if it could be at least 60 degrees, that would be great too! I agree, Christmas dinner is on Christmas, Christmas eve is for cocktails and pretty apps. This year I made crab cakes for dinner (with some other lovely sides), and a pots de creme with a salted caramel sauce that everyone asked "where I purchased it" (oye to the vey! ).
Your Yorkshire looks lovely and I think any occasion it comes out of the oven is the right occasion!
I'm almost digested enough from the festivities to try one myself!

Zoomie said...

I have never made Yorkshire pudding but I always understood it to be made in the roasting pan that the beef just came out of to rest. So, why not metal? Especially deliciously flavored metal? You rascal, you've done it again! Hooray for the Feast of YorkiePuddingdom!

Chilebrown said...

Fresh Dungeness ahhh,. We are on a road trip trip to Willowside meats , Santa Rosa, for our prime, aged prime rib. I called my friend Angelo from Petaluma and he say's Willowside is no good and he is gong to hook us up with another roast. Duedsling roasts.
I know how much Cranky paid for your roast. You are worth it!!

cookiecrumb said...

Little Pots: Yes, crab cakes for Christmas Eve sounds just right. But those oy vey caramel things? What a shame you're such a good cook that people don't believe you made the food. I say tra la!

Zoomie: That was the understanding on making the pudding, from a long time ago. Now, there's not enough beef drippings going into the roasting pan (well, depends on the roast), and you generally need a separate dish and a lot of timing. This was a risk, and I loved it.

Chilebrown: OMG, you know how much he spent? Even I don't. Nice hunk a meat!! Have groovy good fun with your meat adventures. When is puppy?

Kate said...

I've always cooked the Yorkshire in the pan where the roast cooked. And since forever I've favored cooking roasts in cast iron skillets. Thus, my Yorkshires have been made in skillets as long as I've been in charge of Christmas dinner. I've never had the nerve to make them in butter. But I save all the fatty trimmed bits from the roast and make as many puddings as I can eke out of those. Sorta makes it a Christmas-only thing, which makes it pretty special. But I might be tempted to try it more often now that I know butter will work!

Greg said...

Crab, beef fat and butter...that's magnificent eating! I will repent in January):)

cookiecrumb said...

Kate: Thanks for the validation! Woohoo!
Hey, we had a little beef grease in there, but it was only half or less. And, we save trimmings, too, for that illegal Yorkshire pudding out of season.
Love to you and your iron skillet. Try the butter.

Greg: Hm, yes. The diet has been a bit rich. Interestingly, it sets off a craving for vegetables, which we are happy to satisfy.

Hungry Dog said...

Very nice, cookie. I never think of making roast beef though we ate it with some regularity when I was a kid. Sunday dinner etc. Now I'm hungry for it. Of course. Merry late Christmas!

James said...

A friend of mine , English don't ya know, makes her pud in oversized metal muffin tins so everybody gets their own and they always come out great!Cheers!

Ms Brown Mouse said...

All the 'cool' kids down my way had roasted beefs too, I'm so behind the times, we had a Dickensian Goose!

cookiecrumb said...

Hungry Doll: I think meat should be seldom. Once a week for a roast is too much (there were leftovers, right?). You're doing everything right. Help yourself to a standing rib roast for a special occasion. New Year's Eve? :)
Late Merry Christmas to you, too.

James: I love that! Kinda like popovers. Yum.
So, so nice to see you wander over here. xoxo

Mouse: Your goose was wonderful, though, right? Cranky and I invented the standing rib roast (or its little stepchild, the rib cap roast) for our Christmas feast. We did a goose once, and almost had to call the Grease Department.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Ha, yes, it was good. I brought home a jar, it was labled by my mama, "goose grease" L(==:)