The Sunday tradition of a roast dinner is very much alive and well, but any night has the potential to be roast night in our household. I have some tricks up my sleeve for getting one on the table quickly, with no hassle and less pans to clear up afterwards – perfect when you want something warm and filling on a winter’s evening.
Change your meat
The thing that takes longest to cook in a roast is usually the meat, but choose wisely and you don’t have to wait for hours. We often go for a small beef joint as it cooks quickly, especially as we prefer it cooked medium, while sausages go down well with the kids and can also be really speedy.
Treat yourself to venison steaks and they’ll be ready in only 10 minutes – simply season and flash fry them before baking in the oven for around eight minutes. If nothing but good-old roast chicken will do, spatchcock one for a reduced cooking time (you can get them ready prepared to save you the effort). Or for an even quicker chicken dinner, buy a pre-cooked one from the cooked meat counter at your local supermarket.
Rustle up some roasties
When you’re using a quick-cook meat, the last thing you want to do is hang around for your spuds. That’s when McCain Roasts come in really handy. These crispy roast potatoes go straight in the oven from the freezer and are ready in just 30-40 minutes. That takes three stages out of the roast-making process – peeling, cutting and boiling. Coated in goose fat, they also taste great – as good as any I’ve made at home before.
Use instant gravy
This one’s a no-brainer for time-saving in our house, but if you’re not sold on the idea of using granules you can always add a little something to pep your gravy up. At the very least you should include the meat juices from the pan and water from the cooked veg, but there are some other great additions to pack in flavour and enhance your classic Bisto gravy.
Even if you’re a marmite hater, you’re sure to be sold on the addition of a spoonful in your gravy. It doesn’t have that pungent flavour when used this way and instead gives the whole thing a really rich taste. If you prefer the idea of using a pot of ready-made gravy, pep it up by frying some bacon and adding the sauce to the pan to absorb all the tasty juices.
Choose your vegetables wisely
Although veggies don’t take all that long to cook in the scheme of things, buying them ready-prepared saves you on prep time and hassle. Frozen peas are always a winner and are usually frozen as soon as they’re picked to ensure a fresh taste. You can also buy microwaveable packs of pretty much every vegetable on the market, from broccoli to cabbage, or go for veg that steams in no time like mange tout.
One pan roast
If you find it hard to get the timings right for all the different elements of a roast, instead try a one-pan wonder. This one-pan chicken roast only has three stages. Simply cook your chicken, potatoes and carrots together before turning the heat down a little later, finally adding peas and stock for the last stage. The juices from the chicken flavour the vegetables and there’s no need to make additional gravy, as the ingredients create a flavoursome sauce in the bottom of the pan.
We love a roast dinner in this family, and it’d be great to get some more tips on easy roast dinners from you.