A Sunday roast has always been one of the meals I look forward to the most. Tender meat served with crispy roast potatoes, loads of vegetables with a rich gravy – it doesn’t get much better than this. I remember when I first started cooking roasts I found them fairly stressful due to all the component parts. However, it is all about good preparation and timing- if you can get that right then it is a fairly painless process.
As we rear our own ducks we tend to make our own duck fat, which is then frozen in portions ready to be used for roast potatoes. After plucking, drawing and butchering the ducks we render the unwanted skin of the bird down in a hot oven (180C – 200C fan) for about 40 – 55 minutes to draw out the fat. The fat is then sieved and left to cool slightly before pouring it into small pots ready to be frozen. If you can’t get duck or goose fat then use olive oil or vegetable oil in its place.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, as a family we prefer to eat lamb well done, consequently all timings recommended for the meat are made with this in mind. If you prefer your meat medium or rare please see the notes.
Roast lamb with garlic and rosemary
- 1 leg of lamb (1kg – 1.5kg)
- 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 3-4 stalks of rosemary (cut into 2” pieces)
- 1-2oz butter (softened)
- 1-2tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180C fan.
- Mix the garlic, butter and oil together in a bowl.
- Take a sharp knife and make deep incisions into the joint roughly 6-8 times.
- Smear the garlic butter all over the joint, push some gently into the incisions.
- Insert the rosemary pieces into the incisions and season well.
- Place the meat joint in a roasting tray.
- Place in the oven and cook the lamb for 1hr -1hr 15 minutes basting occasionally for a well done joint.
- Remove from oven, wrap in foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place before carving.
If you prefer a more scientific approach to cooking meat and would rather use a meat thermometer to gauge how your leg of lamb is cooked work on the following principle:
- 50C – Rare
- 60C – Medium
- 70C – Well done
- 75C – Very well done
Alternatively, insert a knife into the joint and press down slightly so that you can see the colour of the juices, the pinker the juices the rarer the meat.
Roast potatoes in duck fat
- 6-8 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into large pieces)
- 2-3tbsp duck fat.
- Place the potatoes in some salted water and par-boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain in a colander and set above the pan to continue to drain for 30-45 minutes.
- Roughly 40 minutes before serving, place the duck fat in a roasting tin and place in the oven at 180-190C fan for 5 minutes to melt the fat.
- Remove from the oven and very carefully tip in your potatoes. Stir and turn the potatoes in the pan to make sure they have all been covered in oil and then season.
- Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Red cabbage with sultanas
- 400-500g red cabbage (finely sliced)
- 1 handful of sultanas
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2-3tbsp olive oil
- 2tsp sugar
- Place the cabbage and sultanas in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes (or until the cabbage is soft).
- Drain the cabbage well, then return to the pan and add the vinegar, oil and sugar and stir well.
- Taste and add seasoning as required, serve.
Honey glazed carrots with parsley
- 5-6 carrots (peeled and cut into batons)
- 2 heaped tsp honey
- 1 heaped tsp butter
- 1tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Place the carrots in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until the knife goes easily into the carrots).
- Drain the carrots and return to pan, add the butter and honey stir together and add cover for 5 minutes.
- Just before serving scatter over the parsley and season with a little salt and pepper.
- 4 onions (peeled, and left whole)
- Cook the onions in the same roasting pan as your joint.
- Remove the onions from the pan after about 40-45 minutes.
- Place in a small ovenproof dish, cover with tin foil so that they stay warm.
- If they cool too much, pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Gravy (for lamb)
- juices from the meat pan
- 1 glass red wine
- 2 heaped tsp red currant jelly
- ½ pt – ¾ pt water (or vegetable water)
- 1 stock cube
- 1-2 heaped tsp cornflour (made into a paste with a little water)
- Having removed the meat, place your meat pan along with its juices on the stove and heat.
- Add the glass of wine and allow to bubble away for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ½ pt of water, red currant jelly and crumble in the stock cube stir together.
- Pour in the cornflour paste and stir continuously as your gravy thickens, add a little more water if it is needed.
- Pour into a gravy boat and serve.