Make the Most of Your Roast
A Sunday roast is 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 and now, thanks to British Roast Dinner Week (24 Sept-1 Oct), we have a week dedicated to this important dish.
The annual campaign – sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – now in its sixth year, encourages outlets to serve a roast dinner every day of the week – with one being crowned the Best British Roast Dinner. “We’ve always been busy, but since winning the Best British Roast Dinner competition, we’re taking bookings for Sunday service weeks in advance, and roast sales have shot up by 15%,”said Nick Otley, owner of the Bunch of Grapes pub in Wales and 2016 winner of Best British Roast Dinner. “It’s inspired us to become even better.”
Make sure you shout about your roasts on social media. It can play a big part in attracting diners – so don’t neglect your pages. “Our social media has seen a big spike too,” added Nick. “We usually reach a couple of thousand people on Facebook with our posts – but the article we posted about winning the Best British Roast Dinner competition reached more than 46,000 people – which is incredible.”
Offer a selection of meats alongside the traditional options…
• Spiced Marmalade Glazed Gammon a twist on a classic carvery roast. The spiced marmalade glaze guarantees a delicious golden gammon joint. The trick is to use rindless marmalade!
• Ginger Ale Brined Roast Pork Loin keep the lean cut of meat moist by cooking it in brine and top it off with a tasty ginger ale glaze.
• Pot Roast Brisket with Thyme created with KNORR Jelly Bouillon and classic British veg, the heartwarming dish is a great way to use a cheaper cut of meat.
• Roast Rack of Lamb with Merlot indulge your customers with this luxury lamb roast and tempt them to pair it with a nice glass of red.
For more info and recipes visit ufs.com/pubs
Does your roast stand out in a crowd?
• Share the story of your meat in house and on your social media pages – is it local, free range or a special breed?
• Celebrate seasonality – offer in-season foods like pheasant and partridge; they’re often great value, tasty and will provide a USP versus the competition.
• Create theatre – serve your roast and sides on a board at the table to let guests carve and help themselves.
• Try a carvery – a great way to put your roast on show, it increases footfall and keeps impatient customers happy.
• Be prepared – ensure all mise en place is done ready for the start of service.
• Brief your team – make sure your staff know what the specials are, what beer and wine to match with the food and what allergens are in the dishes.
The perfect roast
Gary Durrant, head chef at Hunter 486 in Marylebone, London shares his secrets to serving the perfect roast dinner..
• Meat – if buying a beef joint, ask 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.
• Veggie option – a nut roast is the fail-safe veggie option but it doesn’t have to be boring! Top with vegetarian blue cheese or goat’s cheese for an extra kick, or add mushrooms for a tastier flavour.
• Gravy – while the meat is resting start on the gravy by using the juices in the pan and thicken with 1 tbsp flour and 250ml stock. Try frying 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.
• Potatoes – to get them fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, place boiled potatoes 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.
• Yorkshire Pud – a traditional roast is not complete without Yorkshire puddings regardless of what meat you are cooking. Use full-fat milk for a softer and richer batter, and make the batter a day before so it will be lighter and rise better. Add ingredients to the batter to put a twist on the traditional pud – mustard gives a fiery kick, grated cheddar and chives works well or some chopped and fried bacon into the batter mix does too.
• Veg – there are so many simple ways to make really tasty veg. Cook carrots in butter, fresh orange juice and parsley to enhance the flavour or make honey-glazed carrots by roasting the carrots in white wine vinegar and honey. Bake cauliflower with onion, garlic and parmesan, or roasted broccoli with cheese and drizzled with lemon juice.
Don’t forget about the vegetarians… “Vegetarians love the occasion of a roast dinner as much as anyone else. “The best bits of a roast dinner can be enjoyed by everyone: the crunchy-yet-fluffy roast potatoes; indulgent mash; sweet glazed carrots; flavoursome roast parsnips; and, of course, a rich, hearty gravy are always a hit,” said Alex Connell, principal tutor at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. “But, with a little imagination there are no shortage of options for a show-stopping centrepiece: mushroom, lentil and ale pie topped with puff pastry; classic nut roast; butter bean and chestnut Wellington; stuffed peppers with feta, garlic and hazelnuts – the list is endless!”
Visit vegsoc.org for more recipe
The best balance
• 3 slices of meat
• 3 roast potatoes
• 2 Yorkshire puddings
Crucial condiments • Mint sauce
• Apple sauce
• Horseradish sauce
• English mustard
All about the gravy
Research by Maggi shows that consumers are passionate about gravy and want gravy boats back on the table. “It’s great to hear how strongly they feel about this truly British tradition, and it underlines how important generous portions of good quality gravy are to meals, especially roast dinners,”said Susan Gregory, head of food at Nestlé Professional. “Industry research shows that if a venue can demonstrate generosity to a customer, then they are more likely to score their experience highly in terms of value-for-money, which is a key driver of repeat visits.”
Go gluten free
Offering a good gluten-free option attracts diners and impacts the bottom line. 21% of people would be willing to pay more for a gluten-free meal, according to research by Toluna.
“Roast dinners are the linchpin of our business. If people come in and have a bad roast dinner, then they are certainly not going to pop in for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon,” said Andrew Butler, head chef, Mitton Hall, Lancashire.