I love a roast. I never used to do one, and then my eldest started school and it felt like a nice kind of ritual to introduce to the week. A Sunday night roast, hair wash, bed. But not everyone feels the same way, apparently. I saw in a recent survey by McCain that the number of Sunday lunches eaten each week has fallen by 4% – that’s 1.43 billions lunches, they say. Apparently people find it too much of a faff and can’t be bothered, even though it was voted as the favourite meal of a third of the respondents.
Now, obviously, here at Crumbs HQ we know all about ‘can’t be bothered’. It’s pretty much our middle name, but even so, a roast is quite an important part of our week. So, at the request of those potato lovers, McCain, and because we’re kind and can’t bear the thought of people missing out, we’re taking part in the McCain Roast Hack campaign.
Here are our seven top roast hacks to help you get your dinner on the table quicker:
- Often the vegetables in a roast are an afterthought, plopped in a pan just before serving. But that last minute is so fractious, with so much to do, why not get those vegetables underway earlier and make them a more important part of the meal? For example, put the peas on early, simmer in stock with chopped spring onions, a sliced little gem lettuce and butter. This is an easy way to increase the greenery in your roast as well as make it a little more exciting.
- Step away from the peeler! Carrot skin is so thin it just needs to be clean rather than peeled, so save some precious minutes. Many other root vegetables are the same (except celeriac – always peel celeriac!).
- Frozen vegetables are entirely acceptable. What’s not to like? They come ready-to-cook, just put them in a pot (with some extra flavourings – cook carrots in butter with orange and thyme). They’re unprocessed and picked in their prime.
- I love roast parsnips but they need a hot oven, so must go in after you’ve roasted the meat. All this equals last-minute hassle. Instead slice them thinly, pop them in a pot with some cream and put them in the oven at the same time as the chicken and bake. Dauphinoise is delicious, easy to prepare and can be made with most root vegetables.
- Gravy is the straw that broke many a camel’s back. You’ve slaved over a hot stove, your guests/family are there and now, whilst maintaining civil conversation and a smile, you have to whip up a delicious gravy. No you don’t! Forget gravy! Salsa verde is a great alternative. Make it in advance, it goes with just about any meat, and adds a delicious fresh flavour to a roast.
- And roast potatoes. I confess I don’t always do them – too much peeling and basting. But I have just discovered these McCain roast potatoes
and actually I think I’ve been converted. Whack them in the oven at a high temperature (220 degrees fan) in a hot baking tray and 40 minutes later you’ve got golden, crunchy roast potatoes. Mine never look like this. A quick check of the ingredients shows that they only contain what your homemade roast potatoes have in them – potatoes, vegetable oil, beef dripping and a bit of salt.