The Roast Reigns

As Gail Woodward says in her book review column this month, it’s that time of year for warming and hearty roasts.

As Gail Woodward says in her book review column this month, it’s that time of year for warming and hearty roasts.

You can really ring the changes with roasts – beef, lamb, pork or venison, bone in, bone out, pot roasted or oven roasted – and with the accompaniments. The easiest is, of course, the traditional roast leg of lamb, leg of pork or a beef roast, with the vegetables roasted in the dish with the meat, all combining to give wonderful flavour to the meat and gravy.

One of my favourite stories has always been Charles Lamb’s essay, “A Dissertation on Roast Pig”, about the beginnings of roast pork – read the whole thing sometime, it’s great fun.

Lamb relates that Ho-ti, a Chinese swine-herd, left his somewhat lumbering son looking after their house while he went to look for pig fodder. The boy let some sparks fly on to straw with the inevitable conflagration which not only destroyed the cottage but roasted a litter of newly-farrowed piglets. While panicking about what to tell his father – not so worried about the simple hovel, but the valuable porkers - the boy’s nose was assailed by a wondrous, mouth-watering smell. He tentatively touched a newly incinerated piglet, burning his fingers which he immediately stuck in his mouth to smooth…ohh, the deliciousness. He tried again, “yummy” (or whatever ancient Chinese said to indicate tastiness) and started to rip in to the burnt flesh, stuffing his mouth. In came his father, breathing fire and brimstone and taking a cudgel to the youth, who paid him no heed. Eventually both stopped long enough for the boy to find another piglet and put it in his horrified father’s hands, urging him to eat what he had only ever consumed raw. He, too, found it irresistible. He swore the lad to secrecy lest the neighbours think them “abominable wretches”, but it became noticeable that every time after Ho-ti’s sow had farrowed, his house soon burned down again.

To cut a long story short, it wasn’t long before there were fires all over the place and pigs became in very short supply!

Fortunately, commonsense subsequently prevailed and we don’t have to burn down the house along with a pig, lamb or cattle beast to enjoy a hearty roast!

Try some of these recipes in the weeks ahead when you want to serve a roast dinner to the family or friends.

Slow-roasted Lamb With A Honey And Lemon Crust is simple and delicious, while my favourite cut of beef features in Roast Standing Rib of Beef. Lamb cane be treated in many ways, but Roast Leg of Lamb With Rosemary is one of the most traditional favourites. Just the ticket for an easy all-in-one-pan dinner, try Quick Mediterranean Roast Lamb.

Doubtless the historical Chinese fellows mentioned above would appreciate the fine favours of Pecan Stuffed Pork Shoulder with Roasted Apples. If you need a succulent roast dinner for two, Moroccan Lamb Rump With Roasted Pears and Quince Jus may be the answer.

Honey Roasted Lamb With Garlic Mashed Parsnips and Spuds – what could be heartier on a cold winter evening? Or you could serve up Golden Syrup Pot Roasted Bolar With Cider Jus for a change of flavours. Cranberry Seasoned Rolled Roast Pork Belly might sound a bit festive, but it will be enjoyed at any time as will Apricot And Prune Pot Roasted Beef.

No roast is complete without gravy – look up my Classic Gravy.

Comments (0)

Please login to submit a comment.