My “tiara” roast. It doesn’t look “half” bad.
On October 26, I got a strange Facebook message from my Dutch friend Koos. He asked me if I would be interested in doing a magazine article on cooking a Christmas meal for a Bulgarian woman’s magazine called Bela. Of course, I was super excited, but it had to happen before Angel and I left for Australia on November 1, so it gave me a small window of time.
Basically, I called Thedora, who would be writing the article and suggested my idea of making a crown roast. She was pushing for a traditional roast turkey, but here is the thing. In Bulgaria there are no fresh turkeys (if I am wrong, please correct me!), unless you live on a Turkey farm, which I don’t think exist here… so no fresh turkey… only frozen and it takes about 3 – 4 days to properly thaw a turkey. I had 24 hours, so I pushed the crown roast, which is visually appealing on camera. There was only one other hitch… I have never made a crown roast before.
Next dilemma, I needed to email Theodora the ingredient list, but I had no idea how to describe the cut of meat that I needed in bulgarian or english for that matter, so I Googled some images and attached them, so she could show the butcher. As for the description, I showed my mother-in-law the images and asked her to describe it in bulgarian as well to cover all my bases.
The next day, before I started work at the Hilton, I meet up with Theodora to get the meat, which I would marinate overnight in fresh herbs. After work, I opened up the meat to find some weird accordion-like, octopusy-thing. It had ribs and the meat was cut away from the bone, but they were spare ribs, not a roast……. breath…… breath….. panic. I called Theodora and let her know the situation, then I called Lyubov, who I should have called on Monday night, but I am dumb. I also realized that I will have to butcher the roast myself, so I googled “butchering a crown roast” and watched every video I could before I passed out from exhaustion.
At 9 am, I was the one of the first people at Piccadilly armed with my exact description (thanks Lyubov) and I headed to the meat counter. Success! I leave the store with a roast that has 11 ribs. With the shopping and the morning traffic, I manage to make it to Theodora’s before our 10 am scheduled time. I was feeling good and I got to work.
I began hacking away at the meat and it started to take form. I was pleasantly surprised with myself, but before I started to pat myself on the back, I needed to make the crown. I took my cooking twine and with all my might tried to bring it around… it wouldn’t budge. The bones on the bottom of the roast should have been buzzed off, like in the video, so I whacked my knife hoping to crack them, they do, but no crown. I started slicing off slabs of meat to make it round, but still no use. I should have purchased 2 and sewn them together, so it was only half…. a tiara roast. Dimitar, from Be Light Studio was our photographer, so the three of us decided to use creative angles to make the roast appear more crown-like.
Everything else seemed to go smoothly, especially for my first time preparing a crown “tiara” roast. Angel and his brother joined us to eat my creation, which wasn’t half bad. I am planning to make it again for actual Christmas, but now I know exactly what to ask for.
Me and my roast!
The magazine hits newsstands tomorrow in Bulgaria, but you can enjoy an excerpt, which is on Bela’s website. There are some creative liberties take with the article. I have never seen the show Top Chef, but I do have to account for the language barrier.
I am getting a disk of photos from the shoot, which I will post next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Please comment below on the blog. Please share your thoughts… not only with me 🙂