With the days getting shorter and those cosy weekend evenings getting darker, there’s nothing more lovely than enjoying a traditional roast dinner on a Sunday with your family.
To help British families make the most of their roasts this autumn, Tesco has teamed up with a selection of chefs and foodies – including TV personality and home cook Nadia Sawalha – who will share their favourite recipes and tips for creating the perfect weekend showstopper.
With that in mind, Tesco challenged me to create a delicious traditional Sunday roast in under an hour. My first thought was ‘I can do this’, swiftly followed by ‘no, wait – how on earth can you cook a piece of meat in under an hour? Why did I agree to this?’.
Then I realised that it probably was possible, I just had to be careful what meat I selected. So, I did the sensible thing, and chose a big hunk of beef – which I had never cooked before. The thing is, this was always going to be a bit of a challenge for me – I don’t really cook a lot – I make dinners (spag bol, sausages and mash etc), but I don’t really actually do anything with ingredients, or timings, or cook ten things at once. I have made a roast dinner many times, but not for a little while, and always chicken.
I know it’s a bit ridiculous, but all day I was kind of dreading it and just wanted to get on with it, mostly because I had planned on writing all my timings and plans out and of course I never bothered doing that. But, once I got started I actually really enjoyed doing it. I love creating something from scratch, and when it actually works and people like it then even better.
So, I made roast beef, Yorkshire puddings (myself! I didn’t borrow them from any Aunts!), roast potatoes, roasted parsnips with honey, carrots, broccoli and gravy.
For the beef I rubbed some himalayan sea salt, black pepper and a bit of oil into it. Then sat it in a roasting dish on top of carrots, fresh rosemary and thyme, crushed garlic cloves, a roughly chopped onion and more oil. I’ve never done it like this before, but all of the veg underneath was SO good (probably because they were soaked in oil and beef fat, but I don’t care) and I’ll definitely do it like that again. If Ava wasn’t eating with us I would totally just do the veg like that and not bother with more pans and faff on the hob.
The beef was lovely, and pink which is how I like it (who cares about everyone else, right), but it could have definitely done with another solid ten minutes… it was a bit tooo pink for roast beef (not as pink as it looks on the photos though). I cut the time down a bit because of the challenge, and also I would normally carve a bit to check it was ready but I didn’t want do that because it would ruin the pictures!
The Roast Potatoes
I always boil my potatoes for roasts before they go in the oven, but for this challenge it seemed particularly important time-wise. Whilst they were boiling I shoved a large baking sheet in the oven with Coconut Oil on to get it heated up ready for the potatoes. Coconut Oil is great because it’s good for you, and it has a really high smoke point so it’s completely safe to use in this way, but it can give the potatoes a bit of a taste though. I don’t notice it but if you don’t like real coconut then you might not want to use it.
Once I’d drained the potatoes I bashed them about a bit to fluff them up so you get the nice crispy bits, and then left them to steam for minute.
Once the potatoes were on the baking sheet and covered in oil I put some salt and pepper on them and sprinkled some more rosemary and thyme on them.
The Yorkshire Puddings
I have made Yorkshire Puddings myself a couple of times before, and every time I do I wonder why I don’t do them more, and also why people bother buying them. But of course it’s still easier to grab them out of the freezer and shove them in the oven. But they’re so easy to make!
I used 140g of plain flour, 3 eggs, 200ml of milk (I used almond milk because I don’t drink cows – and it works fine). This makes tons! I didn’t have a big enough baking tin so there was loads of mixture left, but if you do you can use the whole mixture up and freeze the cooked Yorkshire Puddings for up to a month (although I would so keep them longer). You could totally halve the amount of batter if there are just a few of you. I also use coconut oil again for the baking tins.
For successful Yorkshire’s – don’t open the oven door whilst they are cooking!
I mentioned the carrots and broccoli before. For the parsnips I sliced them and then boiled them for a few minutes before drizzling them with honey and putting them in the oven. I had never actually boiled them first, but I was hoping that it would help speed them up a bit.
I’ll admit…. I failed. Not miserably though, and I’m not really taking it as a complete failing, and if it is then I blame my oven…
I managed to make a complete roast dinner and get it on the table in an hour and twenty minutes. So not exactly a few minutes over, but not horrendous either. I have never in my life cooked a full roast dinner (especially with homemade Yorkshire Pudding’s and honeyed parsnips) in anywhere near that amount of time, so despite officially failing I am still quite proud of myself.
It was also really good to know that I can cook a roast in around an hour. Instead of thinking that it has to take ages and so sometimes deciding not to bother then it can still happen even if the day has passed us by, and also on a school night it could be (relatively) easily done.
The reason it was twenty minutes over the allocated time was all due to the flaming (or not) roast potatoes. I’ve been able to make really good roast potatoes for a good few years now, but for the last year or so my oven will just not let them happen. They get cooked but they just won’t go that brown and it’s really frustrating. I know I sound like a man blaming his tools, but really it’s not just me that’s found this, and I was a roast potato expert before, so…
I really enjoyed taking part in the Tesco sixty minute roast dinner challenge. It encouraged me to make much more of an effort with a Sunday dinner, and try something a bit different to what I would normally do. I will definitely also try and stick to a time limit as it really helped me make an effort to keep to it, rather than casually going an hour over.
Why don’t you join in the fun and have a go at creating your own roast in under an hour too (I bet you’ll be way better than me)!
Tesco is helping the great British public to make the most of family time at home with recipes and tips for creating the perfect Sunday roast. For more tasty Sunday roast recipes and top tips visit realfood.tesco.com.