Sunday dinner school...
Our answers to the most common questions on cooking a slap-up roast.
With both Mother's Day and Easter on the horizon, we thought we'd give our answers tp people's most common questions when it comes to making a super Sunday lunch.
Cracking the pork crackling
- Start off with some 'proper' pork, you need a good layer of fat under the skin to get that crackle
- Make sure with your butcher that the joint will come with rind on, and scored
- Scald the skin with boiling water before roasting, dry off completely (very important) and salt liberally
- Start cooking the pork at a high temperature (200 degrees plus in a fan oven) for the first 30 minutes or so, until the crackling starts to bubble, before utrning down to roast the meat
Take a look at our pork roasts here!
Making a gorgeous gravy
- Roast your beef or chicken bones first until golden brown
- Adding a pigs trotter or calves foot to the bones adds gelatin to the gravy which will help it come out beautifully smooth
- Boil your roasted bones with onion, celery and any carrot tops, or green veg trimmings to create a rich stock - make sure to add the roasting juices from the bones too
- Strain and reduce the stock until it's almost marmite-y, you can add a splash of red wine or sherry at this point too
- You can make a roux to thicken the gravy, but in reality, good quality gravy granules are much easier and will help add flavour to your gravy as well
- A splash of Worcestershire Sauce and a splash of soy sauce will help bring out flavours, and give a deeper colour
- Add the roasting juices from your meat for even more flavour
Take a look at our beef roasts here!
- The smaller the potato pieces, the crispier they will be - adjust the size depending on whether you like fluffy or crunchy potatoes, or do a mix of sizes so there's something for everyone!
- Boil the potatoes until soft, but not quite falling apart
- Drain the potatoes, you can be quite vigorous here when shaking them as you want to rough up the edges to help them crisp up
- Pre-heat your oil or fat on a high heat before adding the potatoes to the tin and roasting at a lower heat
- Season the potatoes and add rosemary and garlic to the roasting tin for flavour
Take a look at our lamb roasts here!
Yorkshire puddings that rise every time
- The key is that all ingredients should be in equal quantities: starting with the weight of your eggs - as a guide 1 egg will do roughly 2 individual Yorkshire puddings, I always like to add an extra one for luck!
- Beat your eggs, then add an equal weight of plain flour and beat these together until smooth - it will be quite stiff
- Gradually add the same weight again of milk whilst whisking - the mixture should end up smooth and the viscosity of double cream
- Pre-heat the oil in your Yorkshire trays at your ovens highest heat - you want a couple of millimetres of oil in the bottom of the tin
- Add the mixture to the hot oil and get it back in the oven as quickly as possible - cook at a medium temperature for 25/30 minutes
- DO NOT open the oven door while the puddings are in - that is the number one cardinal sin of Yorkie making!
- Make sure that there's plenty of space above the Yorkshire tin for the puddings to rise into - an oven tray or grid above them will hinder their rising
Take a look at our whole chickens here!
The Main Event: Our tips for each meat
- With any meat, make sure that the joint is up to room temperature before putting it in the oven - this will help stop the muscle fibres from contracting, keeping it lovely and tender
- At the other end of the cooking, make sure to let your meat rest before serving, which allows those same fibres to relax: cover in tin foil and allow to rest for roughly 1 minute per 100g of meat before carving
- All meats will have the most flavour when roasted on the bone, and will cook more evenly, however this does make them more difficult to carve
- Always start at a higher temperature to seal the meat, until it's caramelised and golden on the outside, alternatively sear it off on the hob before roasting
- Roast your meat on a vegetable trivet to avoid it sticking to the pan and burning, and to give extra flavour
- Chicken: Brining your chicken beforehand will help keep it moist (soak in a salt water solution for 20-30 minutes before cooking). Check the chicken is cooked by wiggling the leg - if it feels detached then the chicken is ready, you can also make a cut and see if the juices run clear - once they do the chicken is cooked through.
- Pork: Most cuts of pork will take being roasting for about 40 minutes per kg, with the exception of shoulder which is better cooked low and slow. Pork loin is lovely when cooked rose, or still a little pink, which is completely safe
- Beef: The juices should run red for rare (40C on a meat thermometer)and pink for medium (48C). The internal temperatures will rise during resting, so take the meat out a little early if you like it really rare.
- Lamb: Shoulder of lamb is delicious and cheaper, but benefits from being cooked low and slow - when bones and rolled it can carve well, but if cooked on the bone it works better as a pulled meat. For rack of lamb and noisette, cook at the higher temperature for the full time as it will cook much quicker than larger joints. Lamb can be cooked from rare to well done - we prefer ours medium: for an average leg of lamb this would take around an hour and a half.
Take a look at our sauces and wines here!
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