Posted 22nd March 2013 by Celia Lacy
On a brisk Sunday morning the mere thought of a plate piled high with roasted meat, potatoes and ‘all the trimmings’ is enough to send most of us one of two ways: straight to our favourite local pub for a slap-up meal, or into the depths of the kitchen armed with a peeler!
The traditional roast dinner is thought to originate in medieval England when joints of beef were slow roasted and served as a reward to workers after their Sunday morning church service. The weekend roast remains at the heart of British family cooking today with a variety of meats taking centre stage on the lunch table, including traditional beef, pork, lamb and chicken; and for more festive occasions, turkey and duck.
Cooking the perfect roast is notoriously a challenge of timings, temperatures and instincts. There’s a very good reason why Nan’s roast dinner tastes a whole lot better than anyone else’s; she’s spent the last fifty years perfecting her spuds and gravy down to the last minute!
A top tip for roast dinner success is to get organised. Make plenty of space in your kitchen for all the many stages of your cooking efforts, and recruit a willing washing up buddy while you’re at it! Assemble your ingredients in order of the time they take to cook, and tackle them one by one. Begin by getting your meat in the oven, then start on your roast potatoes. Have each of your side vegetables prepped, chopped and ready to go into each pan so that when your roasting items are near to ready you can easily align your timings. If in doubt, make yourself a list and tick each item off as you cook!
As the pièce de résistance, ensure you buy a good quality joint of meat to serve your guests. A traditional roast rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding is a classic crowd pleaser, whilst tender new season lamb is a wonderful treat for Spring. Why not try this lemon and cumin leg of lamb for your Easter Sunday lunch?
If you prefer a lighter flavour of meat, a rolled pork shoulder or whole chicken are great alternatives and easy to pop in the oven with plenty of seasoning and herbs.
Don’t forget to keep any spare roasted meat to turn into tasty leftovers, such as cold meat sandwiches or a thrifty supper, such as this roast beef with sautéed cabbage recipe.
See all Sunday roast recipes