The Humble Sunday Roast
Now, let me first start by saying that this doesn’t necessarily happen in every household throughout the UK on a Sunday. But…
with that being said, I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a household that isn’t doing this on a Sunday, in one form or another. Lunch time or Dinner time, this is how it goes down:
This picture accurately sums up the (now becoming more dated, I admit) English appetite: meat, two lots of vegetables, and a portion of potatoes.
Let’s talk about the meat, first of all:
Here, we have lamb. In my family, lamb is something we try to eat sparingly because have had the privilege to have eaten some delicious lamb over the years (as we bread our own sheep), therefore we find it difficult to get a good piece and we treat it lovingly when we do. Other popular meat alternatives include beef, pork, chicken, turkey and duck (very rare in our household).
Our lamb was roasted in the oven on a fairly low heat for a long time. Nothing added to it at all, just the way I like it! I am all for a garlic rub or some rosemary with my lamb, but sometimes it’s nice just to let the meat speak for itself.
Next, let’s talk about the vegetables:
Broccoli and carrots we have here. I am a big fan of broccoli and try to eat it as much as possible. However, carrots I tend to eat less of. Both of these vegetables are boiled with just a little salt. However, my favourite roast dinner vegetable dish is cauliflower cheese, closely followed by roasted parsnips. Cauliflower cheese is basically cauliflower with a cheese sauce sloshed on top, and baked in the oven – cheesy bliss! Roasted parsnips are fairly self explanatory, but you have to make sure they are thinly cut and nice and crunchy, yum yum!
The penultimate talking point is most certainly the potatoes:
Here we have a very simple, no fuss, new potato boiled. Chopped in half, seasoned with salt and boiled for around 20-25mins, it oozes simplicity. However, never look past the roast potato! I absolutely adore roast potatoes, but, the best ones are done with goose fat – insanely high in fat and salt… 😦 Other popular potato dishes are mash (boiled potatoes that are drained, and then mashed together with milk and butter to create a potato paste), dauphinois (thinly sliced potatoes layered with a cheese sauce and baked in the oven) and also the potato gratin (tiny straws of potato mixed together in a bowl with a white sauce, cheese and egg, then moulded into pancakes and fried in the pan). We are certainly a creative bunch when it comes to potatoes!
Finally, the real discussion can take place – the gravy (a sauce made from the cooking juices of the meat, or Bisto):
I don’t like gravy, there, I said it! As an Englishman, not liking gravy is like the Taiwanese equivalent of not liking XO sauce, it’s sacrilege. Whenever I state this amongst Englishmen, the question most often asked is: “Doesn’t that just make everything really dry?”. No, absolutely not. If your meal is so dry that you need to drown it with a viscous, brown sauce that barely resembles anything at all, then whoever cooked it (sorry to all mums, dads, chefs, cooks, grandmas, grandads who make a sunday roast and then drown it in gravy) has done a poor job! The meat should be deliciously moist and juicy, the vegetables should still retain their integrity and give off enough juice, too. If you insist on using a sauce to compliment your meal, then for lamb use onion sauce or mint sauce, for beef use horseradish sauce, for pork use English mustard or apple sauce, for chicken use a cranberry sauce, for turkey use bread sauce and for duck use a cherry sauce. Don’t feel obliged to pour over that brown, tasteless sauce just to make everything slide down that little bit easier, branch out a bit!
Venting – complete.
What’s your favourite meat for a Sunday Roast? Veggies? Potatoes? Gravy or no gravy?