Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Rosemary, Thyme, & Fennel Crusted Rib Eye Roast with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Prep Time:  8 hrs    Cook Time:  4 hrs    Serves:  8-10


Nothing is more impressive on a Holiday table than a gorgeous roast, and Rib Eye is the King of roasts.  Now while the time table on this may seem intimidating, it's the oven that does most of the work for you.  I used a 7 lb roast for this recipe, with a cook time of four hours.  If you need a larger roast for your crowd at the table than this, I would suggest breaking it down into 2-3 rib sections so that your cook times line up.  

The day before you put your roast in the oven, season it heavily and place it uncovered in the fridge. This technique is called  a "dry brine", and it will achieve two things for you: It will infuse the meat with flavor, and it will draw out excess moisture so you get better caramelization.  Let the roast sit in the fridge for a minimum of eight, and up to 24 hours before cooking. Before you place the roast in the oven, let it come up to room temperature for two hours first.  The closer the roast is to room temp, the more evenly it will cook.  I would also suggest browning the roast at the end of cooking as opposed to the beginning.   This is the opposite of what most recipes will tell you.  Starting at a lower temperature and then raising to 500 or throwing on the broiler at the end though will avoid the tough ring of overcooked meat than can often result from a hard sear or browning at the start.  



  • 3/4 cup rosemary leaves
  • 3/4 cup thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp fennel pollen
  • 1 6-bone standing beef rib-eye roast (10–13 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Horseradish Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared white horseradish
  • 6 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice


Grind the rosemary and thyme leaves in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle to a powder. Transfer the leaves to a small bowl and mix in with the  fennel pollen, salt, and ground pepper. 

Place the  roast fat side down on a cutting board with a long side facing you. Using long strokes, cut the roast into two 3-bone roasts. French the rib bones 1½" from tip of bones, if desired (this is strictly for presentation and will have no affect on the cooking of the roast). Score the fat cap in a crosshatch pattern, spacing cuts 1" apart.  This will help the fat fully render as the roast cooks. Coat the roast heavily with the rosemary mixture. Place the roasts fat cap up, on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Place a rack in lower third of your oven and preheat to 225°. Roast meat, rotating pan once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of roasts registers 125° for medium-rare, or 130° for medium; about 3 ½–4 hours. Remove from the oven and tent with foil.  Let the roasts rest 30 minutes.

Whisk all the ingredients for the horseradish sauce together in a mixing bowl and then season with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill in the fridge.

Meanwhile, move rack to the upper third of the  oven; increase oven temperature to 500°. Roast meat until deep brown and exterior is crisp, 8–10 minutes. It may be necessary to use the broiler if you oven does not go this high.  In this case, lower the rack in the oven and broil on high until the desired color and texture is reached. Serve roasts alongside horseradish cream sauce.  Happy Holidays!