The Perfect Roast
The term roasting originally meant circulating meat on a spit near a fire. Thankfully all we have to do is switch on an oven which makes roasting simple, efficient and very easy.
The perfect roast includes a lovely crusty outside and tender succulent juicy meat within. Roast beef, roast pork and roast chicken can also be just as delicious when eaten cold with pickles and chutney so stretches your budget even further.
To enjoy meat at it’s most succulent and best, fat is absolutely essential. You don’t have to eat it but it must be there. Fat contains flavour and natural basting juices.
Cooking meat on the bone means that the bone provides an excellent conductor of heat and adds to the taste of the meat. The meat will cook more evenly with less loss of juices with a bone in joint. However if you prefer easier carving the bone can be removed and the joint rolled neatly before hand.
It is very important to pre-heat the oven initially to a very high temperature. This gives the meat a quick and efficient blast of heat so that the edges seize up and the fantastic juices inside cannot escape.
When roasting a joint of beef, pork or chicken, it is good advice to wedge a halved onion underneath it at the edges, it caramelises during the roasting and provides flavour and colour to the juices for the gravy. Roast lamb improves if you insert slivers of garlic and rosemary leaves into the flesh. Roast Beef benefits from garlic. This will give off a lovely flavour and fragrance whilst roasting, the same method can be used with a pork joint too if you want to give a slightly different flavour.
Another great tip, if you want an extra crisp finish the surface fat of the joint, coat it lightly with flour and for a beef joint add dry mustard to the flour. You won’t need to add any fat as there will be sufficient natural fat within the joint it self.
To keep a roast succulent it is important to baste it two or three times during cooking, always shut the oven door to keep the heat in.
The exception to this is pork as it has enough fat within it to provide an internal basting. Also if you spoon fat over the skin you will not get a good crackling.
Although cooking times are given with most recipes, the only real way to know if your meat is cooked to your liking, is to insert a flat skewer into the thickest of the meat, remove it and press the surface hard with the flat of the skewer and watch the colour of the juices run out. If you like your meat rare (as in beef) the juices will be slightly red, medium pink, cooked all the way through clear. Remember that meat will continue to cook while it is relaxing. Take this into account if you like beef rare.