The easiest meal on earth for me is a roast. It’s a thang from my childhood and I’ve adapted it slightly from how my parents whip up a roast but it’s definitely something I find a pleasure to do. The end result is worth the sporadic bursts of effort required while it’s cooking. Best done when you’re hanging around but there are ways to do it in a flash as well.
No matter what cut of meat you have, season it with a mix of herbs, spices and salt. It also usually likes a little fat or oil rubbed over it too. Get your hands dirty and get all those herbs in the nooks and cranny's! Be generous with your mix and your salt. My Herbalicious blend is perfect for the traditional roast, the gravy and the roasted veg. That said, keeping it plain salted is just as good and the gooey bits for the gravy are still amazing.
Now there's a few options when it comes to putting this bad boy in the oven.
- preheat the oven quite hot and pop it in for 20 minutes or so before turning it down. Get that temperature up before you start getting herby.
- lay your roast on a bed of carrot, onion and celery if you fancy (stuff your chook with onion, garlic, lemon and a fat blob of ghee or butter)
- or pop it in without anything at all! (Argh! the precise peeps are having kittens right now!)
- It's ok to try all of the above and see which way you like it!
- Short on time?? A quick roast comes in the form of butterflied chicken or lamb.
BUT....I find that you get an awesome result by putting a centimetre of water in the base of your pan either way!
- keeps the meat moist
- stops the meat juices from burning and becoming bitter (that ain't nice in gravy!)
- makes washing up easier!
If you are slow cooking a large piece of meat over several hours then you will need to keep it covered and top up the liquid along the way.
When your roast is nearly cooked:
- take the meat out and strain off the liquid and scrape out all the gooey bits (the time differs with different cuts of meat). I have an awesome jug that separates the fat from the liquid but you can use any jug really.
- toss parboiled potatoes through a little of the separated fat to make them crunchy - but don't salt them until they're out and in a bowl.
- turn up the heat on the oven to 220C and pop the meat and spuds back in to brown off for 10 minutes or so.
- take the meat out to rest on a carving tray, turn the spuds and pop them back in to finish off
Now you can use the strained and separated juices for your gravy. A word of warning - carrots and onions will add sweetness to the gravy so if that ain't your thang, then skip that idea altogether! I have used caramelised onions for a gravy and pureed it, but it is quite sweet.
NOTE: you don't have to stress about how much liquid is in the pan! If there's not much because it was a quick cooking roast, then you may only have little brown gooey bits in the pan. That's ok! They will still add flavour and that all important brown colour to your gravy! Just make up the liquid with other homemade broth or water.
Follow the directions for “Gravy Basics” to finish off your gravy baby!!