Tips For The Perfect Sunday Roast From A Head Chef

We Brits love our Sunday Roast and it’s one of the most popular dishes in the UK. It’s a tradition that goes back centuries and one that can be enjoyed all year round – although some less than hardy souls won’t touch a roast in hot weather, preferring a seasonal summer salad.

Here, Gary Durrant, Head Chef at Hunter 486 restaurant, located in the 5-star boutique hotel The Arch in London (now Prince Akatori Hotel), shares his top tips for producing a Sunday Roast to be proud of.

Head Chef at Hunter 486 – Gary Durrant

The Meat

The crowning glory of Gary’s Sunday Roast is the meat and at Hunter 486 it is cooked in a stone oven which has very high heat.

If you are buying a beef joint, ask your butcher for cod fat (from between the hind legs of the cow) as it is a natural way to baste your meat. Tie it over the top of the joint to keep it moist and enhance its flavour.

To add more flavour to your meat, rub with oil, salt and herbs or place the meat in the pan on top of halved red onions.

A Nut Roast is the fail-safe veggie option but it doesn’t have to be boring! Top with vegetarian blue cheese or goats cheese for an extra kick, or add mushrooms for a tastier flavour.

The Gravy

A Roast Dinner is not complete without a good helping of gravy! I must confess that I struggle with this every time and normally delegate gravy production to the Husband.

While the meat is resting you can get started on the gravy using the juices in the pan. Thicken this by mixing 1 tablespoon of flour and 250ml of stock.

If you would really like to impress, fry chopped vegetables in the base of the pan until caramelised.

Add flour, stir and then add red wine before gradually pouring in the stock. For additional flavour add herbs or a little splash of soy sauce.

The Potatoes

Some believe that roast potatoes are the star of the show when it comes to a Roast, so there can be a lot of pressure to get them right!

To get those potatoes fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, place them in a colander and rattle them around – this will help to make the skin crispy.

The golden rule is that you must cover your spuds in olive oil, butter, goose or duck fat for that wonderful golden colour.

While they are roasting, baste them in the fat every so often to keep them moist and make them extra crunchy. Once cooked, season them with sea salt and black pepper.

The Yorkshire Pud

A traditional Roast is not complete without Yorkshire puddings regardless of what meat you are cooking.

Yorkshire puddings can be easily made with flour, eggs and milk. Gary recommends using all milk for a softer and richer batter, and make the batter a day before as it will be lighter and rise better.

If you’re bored of plain Yorkshire puddings try something different by adding some ingredients to the batter. Gary suggests giving a twist to this classic dish by adding mustard for a fiery kick, grated cheddar and chives if you’re a cheese fan, or throw some chopped and fried bacon into the batter mix.

The Veg

Similarly to your Yorkshire puddings, you want to add extra flavour to your vegetables. There are so many simple ways you can make really tasty veg!

Gary suggests cooking carrots in butter, fresh orange juice and parsley to enhance the flavour. If you have a sweet tooth try making honey-glazed carrots by roasting the carrots in white wine vinegar and honey. Or you can change things by baking cauliflower with onion, garlic and parmesan, or roast broccoli with cheese and drizzled with lemon.

Then all you have to worry about is rustling up a fabulous dessert!

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