I was obsessed with Sunday roasts long before I moved to London, but I can confirm that my obsession has certainly intensified now that I live in the homeland of this important weekly tradition. Go to any pub on a Sunday in London and you’re bound to find a roast on offer: pork, chicken or beef are generally all available, and it’s only a great roast if the sides are as impressive as the meat. I’ve now had my share of disappointing (and painfully expensive!) roasts, so my focus, lately, has been on perfecting the art of cooking the perfect Sunday roast myself.
There have been plenty of hits and just as many misses; so I’ve decided to share my top tips with you so that you too can revel in the beauty of a perfectly fluffy Yorkshire pudding and a juicy slab of roast beef.
- Bring your meat up to temperature before cooking it. Cooking meat when it’s ice-cold results in uneven cooking. Take your beef or pork out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking to allow it to warm up. Chicken only needs about 30 minutes.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of browning your beef properly! Searing it on all sides in a hot pan before it goes into the oven will give the meat a beautifully flavoursome crust.
- If you’re roasting pork- make the most of that gorgeous crackling. Score the skin before cooking, and once the meat is cooked, I recommend removing the crackling from the roast and allowing it to cook for an extra 5-10 minutes on a wire rack in the oven while the meat rests (to make it perfectly crisp). And don’t be stingy when seasoning with sea salt! Crunchy, salty crackling is a gift from the gods.
- REST YOUR MEAT. I, too, used to take this to mean that I should leave my meat near the oven for 5 minutes before carving while I laid the table. But no – you should rest your meat for at least 20 minutes. This allows plenty of time for the juices in the meat to redistribute evenly throughout the joint, resulting in juicy, delicious meat. And no, your meat won’t be cold, I promise. If it is, you can pop it into your still-warm turned-off oven for a few minutes.
- Struggle to get your roast potatoes crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside? Follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be in roast potato heaven: put the peeled and cut potatoes into cold, salted water in a pot, then bring up to the boil and cook until a cutlery knife can pierce them easily. Never put your potatoes into boiling water! Once soft, drain the potatoes and then leave them in the colander over their cooking pot to steam for 5-10 minutes, covered. This is the vital step! Give the pot a shake to fluff up the potatoes. Meanwhile, heat up your cooking oil in the oven on the baking tray you plan to use. Once it’s hot, decant the potatoes onto the sheet and turn them to coat them evenly in the hot oil. Sprinkle sea salt generously over them all, and maybe drop in a few sprigs of fresh rosemary amongst them. Now cook them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for an hour or until golden brown and properly crisp.
- Yorkshire puddings are sensitive things, and need to be looked after properly. Make sure that the oil in your muffin tins is very hot. To test it, drop a small piece of bread into the oil and if it sizzles wildly, the oil is ready for your Yorkshire pudding batter. Also, while the Yorkshires are in the oven, DO NOT open the oven door under any circumstances! If you do, they won’t rise properly, and you definitely want that impressive height.
- Finally, gravy! Always use the drippings from your roasted meat as the base for your gravy. Increase the quantity with some good quality stock, and thicken with a roux or beurre manie (butter and flour mixed together to form a paste and then added to liquids to thicken them). Make sure to get the flavours right before reducing the gravy, as flavours intensify with reducing!
If you follow these simple tips, and make some cracking veg to accompany all this hearty deliciousness, you’ll have a perfect roast on your table every Sunday!
Did you try these tips and love them?
Didn’t they work for you?
I’d like to know.
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