Chef Mark showcases Christmas roast of prime rib with fig sauce

Central Illinois Newsday

Christmas Roast of Prime Rib Roast with Fig Sauce

By Certified Executive Chef Mark Shoopman, CEC, CFBE of Lutheran Hillside Village.


  • 1 each 10-12 pound Prime Rib roast with back and rib bones removed
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dry rosemary, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons Kosher salt, can substitute season salt for more flavor
  • 2 tablespoons Smoked or good quality paprika
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons Thyme
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh ground pepper


Allow the roast to rest at room temperature about 20 minutes before beginning.

Step 1. Mix all of the dry spice ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Step 2. Completely rub the roast down with the olive oil and then proceed to rub the entire roast with herb mixture. Use as little or as much as you would like. Reserve remaining for future use.

Step 3. Place the roast with the fatty side up into a roasting pan with a cooking rack under it. If you purchase your Prime rib with the rib bones attached then there will be no need for the cooking rack as the ribs will support the roast. In place of a roasting rack, you slice an onion in thick slices and line the pan, and set the roast on top of them. This will add flavor and act as a roasting rack.

Step 4. There are two ways you can roast: At a low temperature for a long time, or at a high temperature for a shorter time. Your roast will shrink less if you cook it low and slow, but you won’t get the same flavorful, well-browned exterior that a high roasting temperature gives you.

I prefer to utilize both cooking methods. Starting with a high temperature to sear the outside, and then turning down the oven after 30 to 40 minutes to finish the cooking process. Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees F and roast for 30 minutes or until the roast is nicely browned. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and continue roasting for about 15-20 minutes per pound.

A thermometer is the best way to guarantee the roast turns out exactly the way you want it. For an accurate reading, push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or the pan. For rare, roast to 120-125 degrees F. For medium-rare, roast to 130-140 degrees F. For medium, 145-150 degrees F. For medium-well, 150-155 degrees F. Well done is considered 160 degrees F and above. Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise at least 5-10 degrees after you remove it from the oven. Let the roast stand for 15 or 20 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the center.

Holiday Fig Sauce Recipe


  • 1 cup Beef stock (canned broth works just fine)
  • ¼ cup Fig Jam or Marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • As desired Sea Salt
  • As desired Freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons Minced shallots
  • ¾ cup Good quality port wine
  • 1½ cup Fresh figs (prefer sweet Turkish), stems removed and cut into halves


Over high heat in a skillet, Add the unsalted butter and olive oil and then the shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the port wine and fig jam and continue to cook, scraping the sides of the pan, until the sauce begins to thicken. Whisk in the beef stock and reduce the sauce by half or until it just coats the back of a spoon. Add the fresh figs, remove from heat, cover, and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.


Carve the beef to the desired thickness and present it on heated dinner plates. Spoon the fig sauce over the middle of the cut and serve.

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