Posts Tagged ‘roast’

Amazing Slow Roasted Lamb

When asked recently what my favourite meal is I didn’t immediately have the answer. After putting some serious consideration into it, I didn’t come up with a definitive answer, but an awesome roast lamb is certainly in my top 3. A perfectly roasted lamb shoulder, with roast potatoes and a red wine gravy, hell yeah.

There’s a couple of tricks to getting the most out of a lamb roast. Firstly, get a cut with the bone in, a shoulder or leg is perfect. The bone carries a lot of flavour and the meat around the bones is generally more interesting. Secondly, be sure to err on the side of less time than more, dry lamb is terrible. Finally, don’t skimp on the meat. Getting aged lamb isn’t particularly easy, but generally the better the butcher, the better the meat. Look for a good covering of a nice clean, white fat on the meat.


  • 1 x good size lamb leg or shoulder on the bone.
  • 4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter


Leave the lamb on the bench for a few hours prior to cooking to let it come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 220.  Mix the spices and oil together in a bowl to form a paste. Rub the paste on the outside of the lamb especially on the top, fatty side. Place the lamb in a roasting dish and cook for 25 minutes. Cover the lamb with a tinfoil, lower the temperature of the oven to 120 and cook for 4 hours. An hour before serving, use a meat thermometer and check the internal temperature of the lamb. The temperature should be close to 77. If it’s below 73, increase the temperature of the oven to 180 and uncover to finish it off.

Half an hour before serving, take the meat out of the oven, wrap it in tinfoil and cover with a folded tea-towel and leave to rest. Retain the juice in the roasting dish for gravy.

Finally, when carving, retain the juices and and them to the roasting dish juices.

Gravy or Sauce

This recipe is not exactly a gravy, more of a jus or sauce. Take all of the retained juices from the pan and carving and either use the roasting pan or a big frying pan. Heat it up to a hard boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Lower the heat to a simmer and add plenty of salt, pepper and the butter. Let the sauce cook down to a slightly thick sauce and serve.

Thanks to Meat and Livestock Australia for a recent masterclass on cooking lamb. It helped quantify some of the method I’ve been using for a long time.


Perfect Roast Pork Crackling

There is nothing better than the feeling of biting into the crispy crackling of a perfectly cooked pork roast. A lot of crunch, followed by a tiny bit of chewiness, the textures in one mouthful are like nothing else. The beauty of it is, making your own perfect pork crackling is so easy.

Perfect Pork Crackling The trick to this crackling thing is moisture. Drawing out all of the moisture is what makes it crisp. This is a 2 step process, score the skin all the way across about 1 cm apart with a really sharp knife (I use a craft knife) and then add salt. Copious amounts of it.

Grab a bowl, add a heap of salt, crack a little bit of pepper, and a pinch of ground chilli and a few tablespoons of oil. Mix it all together with a fork and rub that onto the scored skin of your pork. Then add some more salt, all over it. I’m serious.

To cook, pre-heat the fan-forced oven to its hottest temperature, put the roast in, cook for about 5 minutes on that temperature and then turn down to your cooking temperature.It’s best to keep it on fan-forced as this keeps drawing out the moisture in the skin and helps with the crackling. About halfway through cooking, check your skin, stick it with a fork, it should be really quite hard. If it isn’t, add salt.

Before serving, if you are worried about it being too salty, wipe the skin with a paper towel. Most of the salt will just wipe off, leaving that beautifully crackling, fatty skin with just that little bit less cholesterol.

Roast Chicken stuffed with Lemon, Garlic and Fennel

Roast chicken is one of the easiest yet mind blowing dishes you can make. Almost impossible to break and due to the limited number of variables, great to experiment with. The most important thing is the chicken. Grab a small free-range chicken, they are a bit smaller but much tastier than fattened battery chickens. There are basically 2 parts of roasting a chicken, the rub and the stuffing.

The trick with the rub is salt, salt is what crisps up the skin and gives it that unique texture, you then add other flavours to it to enhance the taste. Simple and effective.

Roast Chicken

Chicken Rub Recipe

  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • lemon juice

Using a mortar and pestle grind ample salt, a touch of pepper and paprika to taste down to a fine powder, add a splash of olive oil and lemon juice and beat with a fork. Ensure there is enough to cover rub into the whole chicken, and if more is needed add lemon juice and salt.

Rub this into the skin of the chicken and make sure there is none left over, the more the merrier. Make sure you do this in the roasting dish as the chicken should cook in the extra rub.

Stuffing Recipe

  • lemon, halved then sliced
  • fennel, diced roughly
  • garlic, chopped roughly
  • breadcrumbs

Ensure that there isn’t too big chunks of anything and combine in a mixing bowl. Stuff the cavity with the stuffing.

Cooking Instructions

Cook in fan-forced oven at 170 for 1 hour (more for a larger bird). Check after about 40 minutes and if the skin is a nice dark colour, cover with tin foil. After an hour poke a skewer into the breast and under the leg and ensure the fluid runs clear.

Bonus Gravy

Depending on how much breadcrumbs was in your stuffing and how much rub you used after cooking the chicken there should be an extremely tasty, glutinous gravy in the bottom of the pan. Over a low heat, add water and, a touch of salt and a dob of butter and stir until it combines.

The Art of Gravy Making

I’m a great believer in the benefits of roast dinner as a way to socialise and be merry. I have a pretty stiff opinion about most parts of the process of preparing the aforementioned roast dinner. Every part of the dinner is important – potatoes and pumpkin go together very nicely, onion adds a bit of as the french would say, “I don’t know what”, the meat is clearly the star attraction and the peas and broccoli add an important touch of colour to the plate. However I believe the final crowning achievement of any roaster is the gravy.

Now, before getting too crazy about this gravy business let me say this, it’s easy to screw up, and especially easy to screw up when you start adding your own stuff to it so let me step you through the basics and then we will work on spicing things up a little.

  1. First thing’s first. Roast the shit out of your favourite meat.
  2. Now when you are done and have carved it and it’s ready to serve get all that yummy meat juice from your cutting board and add it back into the roasty tray.
  3. Stick your roasting tray on the stove on a low-medium heat and sprinkle a good dose of flour lightly across the entire roasting pan. You don’t want to dump it all in one big blob, you want it to be more like snow all over the pan juices. Add to this a healthy amount of salt and crack some pepper as well. The salt is the key ingredient so don’t be too shy, but for god’s sake don’t overdo it.
  4. Grab a fork and using the back of it, stir all this flour into the juices. This should all turn pretty brown and very pasty.
  5. Add to this paste some water. The amount depends on a variety of things – how much paste you’ve got, how thick you want the gravy and the alignment of the constellation of Aries in the southern sky. You actually want this water to be the water you have poured off the peas and broccoli if possible, otherwise normal water is fine.
  6. Cook this concoction over a low heat while constantly stirring. This will end up as the gravy.
  7. Undoubtedly there won’t be the right amount or it will be the wrong consistency so you need to add more water/more flour or more of both (to make more) If you are going to add more flour you should premix it with a little bit of water in a cup before you add it to the mix. This stops it from turning lumpy and ruining your masterpiece.

So that’s all pretty easy, and to be fair the gravy that you will end up with should be pretty amazing. Amazing is good, but it isn’t going to keep you happy on 7 meals a week so it’s time to spice things up a little bit. There is a variety of things you can do to add your own take and as long as you don’t go too mad adding pretty much anything is going to give you some unique flavours. A few things I like to do are,

  1. Add a bit of chilli powder when you are first adding the flour and salt.
  2. Stir in some tomato paste before you add the water, barbecue sauce goes alright as well.
  3. I do this pretty much every time I make gravy – add a good splash of red wine with the water – you can probably add white wine as well but I’ve never tried.
  4. Use beef stock instead of water – You could do this if you don’t have much (is any) pan juices.