In most UK households Sundays naturally call for a full on roast, whether it be chicken, beef, lamb or pork, but it’s not something that my family gravitate towards on a regular basis. But this Sunday I really had an urge for all that veg, meat and gravy so I decided to challenge myself and make one on my own. Now all of you may be pro’s in the kitchen and be able to rustle up Roast potatoes in your sleep (if you can, I’m jealous) but as a newbie to the world of sunday lunches I learnt a few things along the way I thought I best share you any of the first timer Roast creators out there, passing the baton/ gravy boat and that.
Plan, plan and plan
I cannot stress how helpful I found it to plan everything in advance. I found all the timings the hardest part of the cooking process so I made sure I’d researched what I was cooking, how long it took and what temperature it needed to be cooked at. I then drew up a basic plan (on a post-it; it doesn’t have to be A3 sized) that had the order of what was going in to the oven and most importantly when. If I hadn’t of planned I’d of probably just ended up in a mushy mess of green beans and soggy stuffing. Tasty.
Stay on top of things
Washing up gets quite hefty while you’re cooking anyway so when you’ve got a fair few pans on and roasting trays the washing up will slowly consume you, and who wants to be nursing their food baby while doing the washing up? Exactly. Once I’d boiled the potatoes and the carrots I washed the pans and then reused them for the broccoli and green beans. Using two less pans and halving my final washing up job. I also got things to share trays. The onions and chicken shared a roasting tray while my potatoes and carrots shared the main tray. Again halving the washing up and using all the available space in the oven.
I also cooked the stuffing a little earlier and just kept it warm in the top oven while everything else cooked. It was something I knew I didn’t have room for in the main oven once the meat and veggies were in and I wanted to save myself the panic and unnecessary stress (which probably would of been a nasty mix on a Sunday afternoon).
It’s not ideal when you’re already requiring a third arm to stir the gravy and then you realise you can’t find the oven gloves and tongs to get the potatoes out of the oven, being prepared might help this not happen as often. Before I even put any water on to boil I made sure I had peeled and cut all my vegetables (I just stored them in a bowl of cold water if they needed it), prepared my meat, got my trays ready and had a neat pile of oven gloves, tongs, slotted spoons and kitchen paper. This way I knew where everything was before I started cooking and I knew everything was in arms reach should I find myself in the ‘needs to grow a third arm’ situation.
Now I’m not telling you to microwave a ready meal and tell everyone you cooked them a Sunday Lunch, because to be honest I’m not too sure they’d buy it for very long. I’m merely advising you to a take a few shortcuts here and there to make life a little easier. Lets take gravy. Unless you do have a third arm and have an awful lot of time spare to make your own gravy from scratch, instant will do. Whether it be a paste, powder or a liquid gravy you simply warm up no one will really notice and this way there’s less of a chance of you burning yourself on hot, spitting liquid. Which is not the nicest experience. Also with veg, if you can find a microwavable bag of veg you really like (Aunt Bessie makes a great carrot and swede that you just chuck in the microwave) just use it, it saves on pans, butter, shouting when the veg wont blend together, and takes away the risk of over-boiling the veggies; and no one really wants a limp stick of broccoli do they? Also Yorkshire puddings (I have to admit I’m not really a fan) but many companies do some great oven bake ones that are miles easier than making them yourself and dealing with boiling fat and a shaky hand while pouring the batter in.
All in all my first experience cooking a Sunday Lunch went well, no one died, got ill or burnt themselves. It tasted like it was meant too and I actually enjoyed the process. Will I be cooking every Sunday Roast now? Probably not, I don’t feel prepared for Christmas Lunch in the slightest…