Preparing a good roast should not be seen as a daunting task, it should be relished and enjoyed! So here are some top tips from our Executive Chef, David Johnson, to help you with your Sunday extravaganza…
The meat you’ve chosen to cook should be brought out of the fridge 20 minutes before you roast; this helps the even transfer of heat throughout the joint. I always recommend that chicken, lamb and beef should be sealed in a hot pan before roasting in the oven. This creates a reaction called maillard which is the protein and amino acids in the meat turning brown – this is where the flavour comes from, so always brown your meat.
As a rule of thumb the lower the temperature the better the end result. I always slow roast my beef at the lowest temperature the oven will go for 4 hours at least, so get it on first thing in the morning!
Simple tricks when preparing your meat will also help to enhance the flavours, here are my top recommendations for the most popular Sunday meats:
Chicken: rub with butter, fresh thyme and grated lemon zest
Beef: rub with fresh thyme, salt & pepper
Lamb: blend rosemary, thyme, garlic rub all over the meat
Pork: grind fennel seeds, garlic & thyme rub over the meat, not the skin
If pork is your meat of choice my secret to the perfect crackling is to rub the skin side with oil and salt and then blast in the oven at a high temperature, around 220o for 15-20 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 160o until the pork is cooked.
For the fluffiest roast potatoes toss them in a colander once they’re par-boiled to break up the outside, and for maximum flavour roast in beef drippings. Keep turning them every 10 minutes, and after 15 minutes or so chuck in some thyme and crushed garlic.
As for the trimmings, simplicity is best. Peel and cut carrots into large chunks, boil with salted water and finish with parsley and butter. Blanch your cabbage for 3 minutes and then add butter as you serve.
No roast is complete without Yorkshire puddings. Make your batter the night before from equal amounts of flour, egg and milk but don’t season it until you need it! When cooking get the oven temperature up to 200o with the fat spitting hot, before pouring in the batter and leaving the Yorkies to rise.
When it comes to preparing gravy, if you’ve not got time to make your own just use the water from the vegetables with a good splash of red wine when mixing with gravy granules and the flavour will really develop. I even add a spoonful of marmite to give it a little kick.
And finally, don’t stress too much about timings. It’s great if you can get it all ready for serving at once, but remember that everything can be reheated so it is not a problem if something is ready before something else!