There is nothing like a sunday roast for bringing people together. Yet when I’ve spoken to family, friends, and fellow bloggers its the one thing, other than getting a cooked breakfast right, that gives them grey hairs. I’ve tried to make this as simple as possible and this post could go on forever, but I think if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well….
Before we get going lets talk about heating up your oven. You should do this 10 mins before you put your meat in, this will ensure that the cooking times work. If you have a convection oven there is no need to wait!! As for temps – hot and fast usually means gas mark 8, medium means gas mark 6 whereas slow and low usually means gas mark 4.
The Main Event – should go in as soon as the ovens hot enough
Lets talk about your meat. For me on an average weekend it’s going to be either chicken, beef, lamb or pork. (Turkey is way too much effort).
Chicken– My chicken is done the way my mum has always made it. I prep the bird by putting a bay leaf, some thyme and half a lemon inside the cavity and put slices of garlic in slits in the breast and then sprinkle salt and pepper over the bird. I then put this in a baking tin with about an inch of water, no fat, and roast in a medium oven for about an hour and a half for a medium sized bird. This gives you an incredibly moist bird as well as great base for gravy.
Beef– two ways with beef. I love mine rare so go for a rib roast, fast and hot roasted which does depend on your joint size but I go for 1 1/2 hours for a medium joint. The Dazzler hates any pink so likes a brisket cooked in foil for minimum 2 1/2 hours. We tend to go for the brisket as its just as moist and tender just no pink.
Lamb– again two ways. Marinated and then roast slow & low for at least 3 hours, works really well with leg, or fast and hot for smaller joints or rib roasts (again this works out at between an hour and an hour and half for a medium joint).
Pork– I haven’t got so much experience with pork but if you are looking for a quick roast dinner I don’t think you can go wrong with bone in thick pork chops, cooked in the oven at the same time you put the stuffing in, then finished under the grill!! Means you can get the roast below in under an hour!!
Whichever meat you choose there is one thing that we hear from chefs all the time, but often ignore, your meat must be rested to allow it to reach perfection. Resting for 45 mins under tightly wrapped tinfoil works best for me as this also gives me enough time to cook my roasties and extras.
When the joints in it’s time to prep the roasties, veggies and extras. The way I do it is to prep the potatoes and whilst they are boiling I prep the other veggies. Once all the veggies are prepped I move onto making the stuffing or Yorkshire pudding mix…
Roasties – should go in when you take the meat out to rest
My fool proof method for great roast potatoes, is simple and has three steps…
1) First boil the peeled, prepped potatoes for 10 mins then drain.
2) Next put the potatoes into the empty pan, shake gently to ruffle and put a tea towel and the lid over in order to allow these to dry out. meanwhile heat 3 tbs of sunflower oil in a roasting tin in the (gas mark 8) oven for 10 minutes, whilst the potatoes dry out
3) Lastly put the potatoes in the tin, ensuring all are coated with oil, season then put back into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 mins turn the potatoes and put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crispy
If you are thinking of roasting parsnips, sweet potatoes or even carrots then these should be thrown into hot oil (or the same tin) 10 minutes after the potatoes go in the oven but should not be parboiled.
Extras – should go in 10 mins after the roasties.
There are certain things that turn ‘meat & 2 veg’ into a roast – Stuffing for chicken or Yorkshire puddings for beef to name 2. Im a purist and limit these to the proper roast but feel free to make what you love.
Stuffing– life is too short to make your own when they make great dry packs. Follow packs instruction and either put into a tin or you can roll into balls and cook in a muffin tin. Then just whack into the oven half way through potato cooking time.
Yorkshire puddings– Jamie Oliver saved me from crap Yorkies about a year ago. It’s so simple but honestly works every time. I was under the misapprehension that Yorkie mix was the same as pancake mix but I was soooo wrong.
1) put your oiled muffin tins in to the oven. meanwhile start with a couple of eggs, crack these into a glass or jar and note how high it gets up the glass.
2) Next simply use the glass to measure the same quantity of flour and milk then whisk, adding a pinch of seasoning till fully combined
3) When fully combined and frothy poor into your prepared hot oil tins and bake hot and fast for 30 mins and DON’T OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 20 Mins.
Veggies- should go on after you’ve turned your roasties.
This is all down to personal taste but I LOVE carrot and suede mash, broccoli and green beans. This has the added advantage of working really well in a 2 tier steamer. Carrots and suede in the water, and each tier containing one of the other veggies.
However this is your Sunday roast we are talking about here, so you can make your life really easy and buy a bag of pre-prepped veggies (no one will know!!) whatever you do just steam the veggies for 10 minutes for al dente or 15 for well done!!
Once you’ve cooked these to your taste strain the water out of the bottom into your gravy pan and discard the rest then return the steamer to the hob with no heat, this’ll keep them warm till you need them.
Gravy – make after veggies have cooked.
Make your gravy using the veg water and gravy granules together with any meat juices and a slosh of red wine or port for a delicious real tasting gravy. Life is too short to mess around with stock cubes and cornflour, this meal is complicated enough!!
Tip I usually keep a small pan on the hob (not over heat) and as I finish with something, whack the useful bits, whether that’s meat juices or veg water, into it. That way I’m ready to go straight away.
So by now you should have rested meat, an oven full of extras and freshly steamed veggies and gravy. All you need to do now is mash the carrot and suede (if you’ve made it) I use a stick blender for this as it takes seconds.
Next carve your meat. For chicken I take the breasts off whole and slice widthways, this gives you nice juicy bite size pieces. For beef and lamb these should both be easier to carve as they are rested.
Lastly begin to plate up. If you are serving veggies and roasties in bowls then all you need do is take these to the table, load up a plate of meat and extras per person, put a slosh of gravy over the meat and take to the table. If you are serving ready plated just add your roasties and veggies and splash gravy over all.
Note I’ve spent years trying to cook roast dinners well and it’s taken me a long time to perfect how I like my meal so I’m sure everyone will have their own top tips, feel free to post a reply with your favourite top tips below so we all benefit!!