Sunday, September 14, 2014

My favourite thing - Sunday roast

If you were to ask me what my absolute favourite meal was I would have to answer, roast lamb, with crispy roast potatoes, gravy and a pile of vegetables.  As I will soon be leaving home I am using my last few weeks here as a chance to learn some more useful skills from my mum and, of course, this includes cooking a roast dinner from scratch.

I chose to roast a leg of lamb as it's one of my favourite joints of meat.  The first thing you have to do is prepare the meat, cut away any excess fat and gristle from the edges of the meat.  Then score the meat, season with salt and pepper and stuff the slits with sprigs of fresh rosemary.  By wedging the rosemary into the slits the meat will take on its great taste, something which is often lost if you just sprinkle it on top.

The prepared lamb
Roasting times will vary depending on the size of the joint and you will need to allow some extra time if you aren't keen on eating your meat rare.  While the lamb was in the oven I prepared the vegetables.  I chopped up the potatoes into quarters before parboiling them for ten minutes.  I then roasted them in lard on the highest shelf in the oven for 55 minutes.  I also boiled some carrots, beans and broccoli.

Prepare the veg
When it came time to check the lamb I stuck a long skewer into the centre and removed it to check the colour of the juices.  They shouldn't be too bloody, but if you don't like your meat rare/pink then you should make sure they run clear.  Once I was happy with the way the lamb was cooked I removed it from the oven, covered it with tin foil and left it to relax for about fifteen minutes.

The roasted lamb
To make sure your potatoes roast nicely you'll need to remove them from the oven halfway through cooking and use a spoon to turn them over so that they crisp up on both sides.

Nothing beats crispy roast potatoes
While the meat is relaxing you should have enough time to make some gravy.  I made a red wine gravy which was really tasty and made a nice change from your everyday gravy.  Use equal amounts of butter and plain flour to make a roux - melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then vigorously mix in the flour until you have a smooth paste.  Very gradually add some stock, stirring constantly to prevent the gravy from going lumpy until you have enough.  I then added some red wine, some of the meat juices from the roasting tin and seasoning to taste and left it to simmer for ten minutes or so in order to let it reduce and thicken.  Stir occasionally to stop it from forming a skin or sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Once the veg is ready all that's left to do is carve the meat and serve!

Heaven on a plate
A roast dinner may seem like a lot of effort, but with planning and practice it really isn't as hard as you think.

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