Brining Your Meat
Do you want to cook the juiciest chicken of your life? Honestly, once you do this, you won't look back, and you will be doing this for life, so convert now, OK?
Brining is a simple process: taking the chicken (or other meat) and submerging it into salty water (brine) and leaving it to soak. This adds flavour and moisture, meaning the meat will be much juicer when roasted. Remember, a brined chicken roasts 20% faster than a non-brined one. Make sure you plan its time in the oven accordingly.
This isn’t marinating; don't get confused. The water ratio when bringing is much higher than in a marinade recipe. Here's our favourite brining recipe:
The Perfect Roasties
They HAVE to be crispy. Let’s be clear on that. Go crisp or go home! Nobody is gonna be impressed with soggy, pale spuds. If you want to keep the “oohs” and “ahhs” high and the riots low, read on for guaranteed crowd-pleasing roasties every time.
We recommend you use Maris Piper potatoes for the perfect roasties. According to 'The Science of Cooking' by Dr Stuart Farrimond, these are the best variety of potatoes to use if you’re looking for that perfect balance of seriously crispy on the outside and heavenly fluffy on the inside. In a pinch, King Edward or Charlotte potatoes will serve you well, too.
The Edge-Cut Method
You have been cutting your potatoes all wrong! This edge-cut technique will deliver the finest, tastiest and crispiest roasties, taking your potato game up yet another notch.
The big brains at Essex University have discovered that the perfect cut is 30 degrees. This increases the potato's surface area, meaning more space for craggy, crunchy goodness. This is a surefire way to have people inviting themselves back next Sunday, so proceed with caution.
Perfect Yorkshire Pudding
Did you know it can't be called a Yorkshire pudding if it doesn’t rise to more than 4 inches? We don’t want you to be in breach of any antiquated Yorkshire pudding laws, so save yourself the embarrassment of a non-rising Yorkshire pudding and make sure that fat is sizzling hot before you pour in your batter and don’t you dare open the oven door mid-cook, or those yorkies are likely to collapse. This is high stakes stuff.
Here, we present to you the perfect Yorkshire pudding recipe, courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry. You will never need to Google again!
Of course, no perfect roast would be complete without the sweet and nutty flavour of a Tenderstem® broccoli serving. The best thing is this veg takes just 2-3 minutes to cook, with no prep needed, so you can leave it right till the end when you have a spare saucepan. There’s no need to plan with Tenderstem ®!
Be careful not to overcook Tenderstem ® as you will ruin its perfect crunch and flavour, so be sure to check out our How to Cook page for the perfect cook. You may normally boil or steam your Tenderstem®, but if you find yourself with time to spare and oven space free, why not try roasting them to intensify the flavour and take that crunch to new levels? Check out our balsamic and rosemary recipe to really show off!
Carrots & Parsnips
Nobody wants a shrivelled carrot! Try parboiling them, but scrub them and keep their skins on. This will soften them without losing moisture and save time and waste. Everyone loves the rustic look.
Give your root veg some TLC by parboiling them before roasting. The trick is to scrub them down with their skins on to lock in moisture, resulting in a moreish, magnificent side for your roast. Saves on waste too!
No roast is complete without the gravy. As a nation of gravy lovers, we all love it a particular way. One thing we’re united in is that we don’t want lumps. Consistency is very much a matter of preference, though, so we’ll steer clear of that to avoid civil war.
According to a University College London professor, the components to creating the perfect gravy are volume of liquid, depth of flavour, stir time and serve temperature.
Based on survey findings of 2,000 Christmas cooks, the perfect jug of gravy should be:
- 115ml in volume – enough to coat the centrepiece and all the trimmings
- Stirred for 2.5 minutes, resulting in a velvety smooth, lump-free consistency
- Depth of flavour on a scale of 1-5 should be the highest at 5, which means including all the juices from your roast plus additional seasoning.
- Served at a temperature of 69°C
Vegan/Vegetarian Roast Alternative
A roast dinner isn’t just about the meat. There are lots of tasty alternatives to add to your roast dinner, whether that’s for dietary reasons, or simply a change. Try a meat-free version of your roast dinner and surprise yourself with how much you don’t miss it.