Roast dinners are notoriously hard to make. There are so many components that it’s hard to get the timing right. When do I need to put the potatoes in? How do I make sure my meat is cooked? How do I stop my vegetables from going soggy? We’ve come up with a simple guide to making the perfect roast dinner so you don’t have to worry!
A perfect roast dinner requires perfect roasties. Most people have their signature way of making this staple, but we found an easy recipe from BBC Good Food to get amazing spuds every time. You’ll need 1kg Maris Piper potatoes, 100g goose fat/ olive oil and 2tsp flour.
- Preheat oven to 200C/ fan 180C/ gas 6. Put in a large baking tray. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters.
- Put potatoes in a pan of water that just covers them. Add salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and leave for 2 minutes. While waiting, put your fat/oil in the baking tray to heat up.
- Drain the potatoes and shake them in the colander- this will fluff them up. Sprinkle with the flour and give them another gentle shake to ensure it is evenly distributed.
- Gently place the potatoes in the fat. Remember it will be hot, so be careful! Roll them around ensuring they are fully covered in the fat and make sure they are just a single layer.
- Roast for 15 minutes, turn over and roast for another 15 minutes. Turn them again and roast for another 10-20 minutes until they are crispy and golden.
The important thing to remember is that different vegetables cook at different times. If possible, try and cook them separately. The best way to serve fresh vegetables is ‘al dente’ which means they’ll taste fresh and still have a bit of crunch.
If you don’t have much hob space in your student accommodation, you can easily steam your vegetables in the microwave. Not only is this completely safe, but it also stores a lot of the nutrients often lost when cooking. Take a shallow, microwavable dish that will hold a single layer of vegetables. Cut the vegetables to a similar size, so they cook at the same time. Place the larger sides of the vegetables (such as stems) on the outside.
Broccoli and cauliflower will take around 2.5 minutes to steam. Green beans will take the same amount of time but will need a sprinkling of about two tablespoons of water over the top. Carrots will need longer with 4-6 minutes, and you should add two tablespoons of water to these too. Cooking your vegetables like this will keep them a little bit crunchy and super tasty.
The key with any meat is to buy the best you can afford. That doesn’t mean you have to choose the fanciest, most expensive one in the shop. You should set a budget and purchase the best quality meat in that price range.
Chicken and beef are the firm favourites for Sunday roasts. Chicken is usually cheaper and easier to cook, and the leftovers can be used for lots of things. We love this roast chicken recipe from the Telegraph.
- Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt the day before serving. Cover with a tea towel and refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/ gas 5. Brush off excess salt and place the chicken in the roasting tin lined with 3, evenly sliced carrots.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken and place the peels inside the chicken.
- Roast the chicken for 1 hour/ 1 hour 10 minutes. Baste occasionally during the roast and add butter if necessary. Ensure the juices run clear, or palest pink before taking the bird out (it will finish cooking as it rests).
- Let the chicken rest for half an hour before serving.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, try this amazing nut roast from The Vegan Society. It’s a great alternative and easy to make!
If you want to make your gravy, you can do this simply by using the juices from your cooked chicken. AllRecipes advises you to add 1 cup of water to your chicken stock which should make around 1 ½ cups of liquid in the roasting tin. Whisk some water into 1 cup of flour until it is thick but not pasty. Add this mixture to the stock mix, whisking over a low-medium heat on the hob. Keep whisking until the mixture comes together smoothly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If this all sounds too complicated, nobody will blame you for buying a ready-made gravy or using granules!
What are your tips for making the perfect roast dinner? Let us know in the comments!