Toast the Roast
Roast dinners are among the most popular dishes when eating out, and with British Roast Dinner Week (23-30 Sept) now in its eighth year, we spoke to Alex Hall, executive development chef at Unilever Food Solutions, to get top tips on how to make your roast stand out all year round…
Build your reputation
A roast dinner is one of the nation’s favourite pub meals, so it’s important to get people talking about your roasts.
•Serve roasts all week – 40% ofconsumers want roast dinners on the pub menu every day – not just on Sunday! Serve at lunch and evening too.
•Create theatre – rather than individual dishes, bring the roast and sides to the table for customers to help themselves. Pre-carve or carve at the table for them.
•Don’t over-serve expensive meat – veg costs less, so serve plenty of appealing sides, like braised red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, gratinated leeks and baked fennel.
•Promote your roasts – previous winners of British Roast Dinner Week competition have seen roast sales increase threefold.
Master your meat
•Source your ingredients properly – use the best quality meat that you can find.
•Heavily season your meat – use plenty of sea salt and black pepper.
•Let it sizzle – 30 minutes in a really hot oven to produce the colour and crispness.
•Turn the oven down and let your joint finish cooking so it is beautifully succulent.
Pride of Yorkshire
Everybody loves a Yorkshire pudding, so don’t just serve with beef.
•Measure it by volume – a cup of flour, a cup of eggs and a cup with half milk and half cold water, a dash of vinegar, and lots of seasoning.
•Whisk and let it rest for 30 minutes.
•Make sure the beef dripping or lard in your moulds is boiling hot, pour the batter in, place in a really hot oven and watch them rise!
In my opinion you have to use Maris Piper.
•Part boil in heavily salted water, then let them steam dry for as long as you can.
•Add to really hot fat, dripping, lard or chicken fat.
•Roast until golden brown and crunchy.
Love your gravy
When it comes to roast dinners, good gravy is vital.
•Serve lashings of gravy – it brings a roast together, so serve generous quantities in gravy boats.
•Make your roast dinner special – lift it with simple twists. Try adding apple and cider to pork gravy, add red wine and thyme to your beef gravy, and garlic goes great with lamb.
Be dietary mindful
With the growing popularity in veganism and vegetarianism, it’s important you have a menu that suits everyone.
•Try swapping duck fat for vegetable oil on your roast potatoes.
•Serve a brined cauliflower steak or a butternut squash wellington.