Fighting your way through a Fire Swamp is hungry work. If you didn’t pack enough rations to get you all the way to Florin, then follow in the steps of the Dread Pirate Roberts (versions III – IV, plus IX and IVX) and roast up some R.O.U.S. ribs. The fire will scare away any other creatures that dare cross your path and the protein will give you the strength to slog through the swamps in the name of your true love. Just remember to stuff your pockets with rosemary and garlic before you leave your ship. But hey, there’s no need to tell you that. As a pirate, you already know you can woo the finest of ladies if you have the right stuff in your trousers.
Princess Bride Week – Roasted R.O.U.S. Ribs
1 small rack of R.O.U.S. (or a 1.25 – 2 pound rack of lamb)
1 head of garlic
3-4 large twigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil
Start by slaughtering a Rodent Of Unusual Size. This shouldn’t be a problem, as they’ll constantly assault you once you’re in the Fire Swamp.
Skin a dead R.O.U.S., chop the front legs and hind quarters into roasts for later, turn the head into a comical hat, and then get down to the most tender, delectable meat – the ribs.
Once you have an entire R.O.U.S. ribcage, use your cleanest knife to carefully remove all but a very thin layer of fat. You can remove it all if you see fit, but it’s best to leave half an inch or so to keep it moist. If you’re feeling fancy, you can “French” the ribs by cutting away all the fat and connective tissue at the ends. (The finer butchers in Florin will do this for you free of charge.)
Place your meat bone side down, fat side up. Use that same cleanish knife to score the meat, cutting a shallow diagonal slash every 1 inch. Turn it around and score it in the opposite direction. You should end up with a nice diamond pattern, reminiscent of the jewels in the fair Princess Buttercup’s crown.
Now make the marinade. First, fish a small head of garlic out of your pants and peel it. The fastest way to do this is crush a head beneath your boot, but if there are ladies present, you can always put it between two large, equally sized bowls and shake it mightily for about 60 seconds. The garlic cloves will emerge miraculously peeled. This trick is equally good at weddings, beheadings, or to pass the time in the Pit of Despair.
Once the garlic is peeled, roughly mince it up. Now viciously peel all the leaves from your fresh Rosemary twigs. (Simply stroke the leaves against the grain and they’ll fall right off beneath your diabolical pirate fingers) and give them a rough mince or two. While you’re at it, use that knife on the fresh thyme. C’mon, you know those leaves have it coming.
Throw your minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme into a bowl and cover their fresh wounds with coarse salt. You really are vicious, aren’t you? Now smother it all with nice, flammable oil. Or olive oil. Same difference, right?
Grind all that together with your fingers then rub it into the freshly scored R.O.U.S. ribs. Really work it into the flesh on both sides of the ribcage. If you have some time to kill, you can cover the ribs with plastic and leave them in the fridge for anywhere from an hour to overnight. If you’re a fast moving pirate on the go, though, you can roast them up right away.
Whenever you’re ready, heat your oven to 425F. Wrap a little foil around the exposed Frenched ribs so they won’t burn. There are already too many charred, miserable bones in the Pit of Despair.
Now put your ribs in the oven. After 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 300F and leave them in there, without opening it up, for another 4-9 minutes, depending on whether you like your rib chops rare or medium. When you take them out, let the ribs rest for at least 10-15 minutes.
Once the meat has rested, cut your ribs into chops and decide whether to share with any prisoners you collected before entering the Fire Swamp.
Wash the chops down with a few swigs of some blood red wine and regale your prisoners with tales of torture and mayhem while you pick the last flesh off the R.O.U.S. bones. If they ask for a chop or two of their own, they might have the makings for the next Dread Pirate Roberts.
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