Who doesn’t love a roast? There are so many variations on it from meat free to a hint of an influence whether that’s spice or your accompaniments to new hot takes such as the roast wrap – which I believe is a roast dinner in a burrito style wrap and oh wait did I mention the wrap is a giant Yorkshire pudding? (Seriously – how have I not had one yet?)
It’s a versatile dinner and fascinatingly no two are exactly the same. Grandparents do it one way, aunts and uncles do it another, parents do it their way and you yourself will have your own mark to make on it. And the best way to do your way is to a) try something you wouldn’t normally, whether that’s at a friends or your local pub and b) get in the kitchen and have a go!
I’m usually lazy and opt for the first rather than the latter but as I am now keeping an eye on my spending more and more I have decided I should get back in the kitchen and actually make a roast myself.
I’ve done roast chicken, lamb, pork but never beef – I do eat beef I’ve just never made it at home by myself. Each of these meats I’ve usually messed around with techniques and methods and although none of them are perfected yet they are decent.
For example with my lamb I like to go full on meat surgery – honestly I clearly used to watch too much Grey’s Anatomy – and I like to make incisions all over the lamb leg and insert slivers of garlic throughout but ABSLOUTELY NO clove – I hate clove.
NB: By the end of writing this post I have come to realise that perfection is much like beauty – in the eye of the beholder. Or in the stomach of the be-nommer. Ha.
This weekend we decided to make a humble roast chicken. We have been hitting up the local butchers Billings Fishmongers and Butchers more often – Tony’s switched to minced steak for his Bolognese and honestly it’s lush! We got a whole chicken – organic, locally and responsibly reared and at £7 for a 3 and a half pound bird not too hard on the purse!
We prepared the chicken in our favourite thyme and lemon combo. I like to put some black peppercorns, sea salt, lots of garlic and thyme into a pestle and mortar – if you don’t have one you can blitz it up but I like a pestle and mortal because it’s anger management that’s cheaper than therapy!
I then mix some butter into the crush and slather the buttery mix liberally onto the bird. The trick is to get it right into all the nooks and crannies. We then stuffed the bird with a lemon cut into wedges. I like to do this because the lemons steam and keep the chicken moist and the lemon works well with the thyme.
How long do you need to put the chicken in the oven for?
We go by the rule of 20 mins for every pound and then 20 minutes extra.
The best way to check if your chicken is ready is to stab is in a reallu meaty part – if the liquid runs clear you’re all good – if you’ve got pinkish or bloody liquid that comes out you’re not so good at the maths problem I set you earlier – why don’t they put stuff like this in GCSE maths? – and you may have a particularly thick chick. In which case put it in for another 10 minutes and check again until you’re good to go.
Another important thing to remember is to leave your meat to rest for 15 minutes– sounds like I’ve lifted that straight off Masterchef but it makes a difference! Resting gives a chance for your meat to relax and redistribute the moisture. Not only is your meat going to be lush – you now have time to use all the lovely juices to add to your gravy to make it *chefs kiss* SUPERB.
We had our chicken with roast potatoes, roast carrot, creamy cheesy cauliflower and some chipolatas we picked up at the butchers when we got the chicken.
Some points for your trimmings:
- Think about when you’ll be putting each component in – timing is everything
- Make sure you use roasting trays with enough room for your ingredients – if you pack everything in too tight you won’t be able to toss them around throughout cooking to make sure you get everything cooked / covered evenly.
- When you’re roasting things like potatoes and carrots try to cut them all into relatively equal parts.
- If you have potatoes that are small and large just halve the small ones and quarter the large ones
- We like to parboil our potatoes, heat some olive oil in the roasting tin with garlic (whole cloves with the skin on) and then add the potatoes ones we’ve roughed them up in the pot Jamie Oliver style (man may have taken away turkey twizzlers but he’s left his mark in his own roastie way!)
- Some people insist on using goose fat – even when it’s not Christmas – and some insist on coating their potatoes in semolina. Both of these are excellent ways to get a really crisp roast potato but we’re lazy and take the above short cuts.
Also on a side note – I’ve never made this cauliflower cheese thing before. We had it in the local pub The Greyhound – if you’re in South East London do check it out the roasts are lovely AND they offer a meat on meat on meat option where you can have all three of the meats on one plate and it’s a beautiful beast!
I found a recipe online but honestly I made too much of the sauce so I’d say go with 50g of butter, 3 tablespoons of plain flour, as much cheese as you’d like and milk to the consistency you’d like – around 400ml give or take.
I melted the butter and flour together and slowly added the milk bit by bit – you can add the cheese once you’re at a consistency you’re happy with. Some people like it thick but remember the cheese will thicken it up again so you might need a dash of milk to get it to how you like again.
My next post will be on what to do with all the glorious leftovers – if you have any!
What are you must have side dishes and secrets to a perfect roast? Have you tried anything new recently with your beloved roast?