Roasting meat in snug fitting roasting tin ensures maximum juice retention. If tin is too big meat juices evaporate leaving none for gravy.
Equal quantities of room temperature butter and flour mixed together to form paste (beurre manié in French) gives a delicious thickness to gravy. Start by mixing about 1 tablespoon of flour and butter, drop in pea size pieces and using flat whisk, incorporate into sauce. As the paste melts and sauce simmers, it thickens. Stop adding paste once desired consistency is reached.
Otherwise use a slurry of cornflour and cold water. As a rough guide, a couple of teaspoons cornflour stirred with about 30ml water will thicken a gravy to serve 4 to 6 people.
Potato variety for roasting need to be floury; lower water content. I use WA grown Royal Blue for every cooking method at home as it's a good all-round potato. Par-boiling method is used to partly cook the potatoes before roasting to speed up cooking in oven, and ensure a crisp crunchy exterior.
The trick to making a roast meal come together successfully is to be able to multi task at the end of the cooking time to ensure meat is resting whilst vegetables and gravy are being completed! Or as I do when entertaining, pre-cook vegetables and then simply re-heat in serving dish in microwave of oven just before serving. Washing up can be completed before your guests arrive.
Simple steps that are the basis for all roasts
Step 1 – Preheat the oven. 180°C is suitable for most cuts of meat and poultry. Rub roast lightly with oil. Season with salt, pepper and any flavourings using.
Step 2 – Place the roast in a snug fitting roasting dish. This retains maximum juices as theses less surface area for evaporation.
Step 3 – Different cuts require different cooking times per fixed weight - see chart below. For ease and accuracy use a meat thermometer to check on doneness.
Step 4 – Remove roast when cooked to desired degree. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. Carve the roast across the grain where possible to ensure tenderness.
Suggested roasting times
Use these recommendations as a guide at the start of the cooking time. Take your roast out of the oven a few degrees below those stated below as your roast will continue to cook while resting.
CHICKEN ROASTING TIMES Approx. 1.5kg bird will take 1½ hours at 180°C. Baste 2 to 3 times during cooking.
|MEAT ROASTING CHART|
|BEEF – times per 500g|
|Temp (fan forced)||Rare 60ºC||Medium 65-70ºC||Well Done 75ºC|
|Rib eye/scotch fillet, rump, sirloin, fillet/tenderloin, standing rib roast, rolled rib beef roast||190ºC||15 -20 min||20 -25 min||25 -30 min|
|Silverside (not corned), blade, round, topside, eye round, oyster blade||160ºC||20 -25 min||25 -30 min||30 -35 min|
|LAMB – times per 500g|
|Temp (fan forced)||Rare 60ºC||Medium 65-70ºC||Well Done 75ºC|
|Eye of loin/backstrap, lamb round, topside roasts, mini roast, lamb rump||190ºC||15-20 mins||20-25 min||25-30 min|
|Rack of lamb, four rib roast, crown roast||190ºC||20-25 min||30-35 min||40-45 min|
|Loin (boned and rolled), Leg or shoulder (bone in), easy carve leg or shoulder||180ºC||20-25 min||25-30 min||30-35 min|
|PORK – times per 500g|
|Temp (fan forced)||Medium||Well Done|
|Leg, rolled belly, shoulder, scotch roast, topside, loin||230ºC - 180°C||Temperature depends whether crackling is being cooked or not.||30-35 min||35-40 min|
Cooked to your liking? Judge your roasts degree of doneness by measuring internal temperature.
The final internal temperature for beef and lamb:
- Rare 60ºC
- Medium rare 60-65ºC
- Medium 65-70ºC
- Medium well done 70ºC
- Well done 75ºC
For poultry (chicken, turkey, goose and duck)
Note: you will need to remove your roast from the oven before it reaches these temperatures as it will continue to cook while resting for 15 minutes.
Do I really need a meat thermometer?
There are lots of variables involved when roasting meats and judging to see it it’s ready or not. Variables like the cut, size, shape and thickness of the meat. To take out all of the guesswork use a meat thermometer. It’s the easiest and most accurate way to tell if it’s ready.
Inexpensive leave-in style thermometers are available from kitchenware shops, supermarkets and selected butcher stores. Place the thermometer in the roast before cooking. Insert it into the middle of the thickest part of the roast away from any bone.
You can also use tongs (or your fingers!) to test the doneness.
Gently prod or squeeze the roast – rare is very soft (feels like a feather pillow), medium rare is soft, medium is springy but soft, medium well is firm and well done is very firm (feels like a dacron or latex pillow).
Test chicken for doneness
It’s particularly important that poultry is cooked through. If using a digital thermometer always double check the reading by sticking the probe in several different spots within the thigh or breast, to find the lowest reading. If returning to the oven allow 10-15 mins then test again until the correct temperature is reached.
Without a thermometer, the classic way to test is to push a fork or knife between leg and breast, and inspect the juices that collect in the joint. The juices should be pale gold and clear; if there are traces of blood return to the oven allow 10-15 mins then test again.
One of the most important things to remember if making crackling, is to get the rind as dry as possible before cooking.
- Pat roast dry with paper towel. If not pre-scored, with a small (very) sharp knife, deeply score the rind at 1cm intervals across the roast (easier to carve when the time comes), don't cut into meat, just through skin and fat. Place pork in clean sink and pour a jug of boiling water over the rind. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towel. Leave scored roast on plate, uncovered in the fridge for a 1 hour, but ideally overnight. This process further dries the rind and aids the crackling process.
- Remove meat from fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to lose its' chill. This will assist quicker cooking, plus a lees severe thermal shock from fridge to oven. Rub roast with olive oil and a generous smattering of salt, making sure the oil and salt penetrate the scores.
- Pre-heat oven to highest temperature, up to 230°C until rind just starts to crackle, up to 50 minutes. If the roast is over 2kg, take 10 minutes off this initial crackling time.
- Turn the oven down to 180°C and cook for 30-35 minutes per kg, depending on how well you like your roast cooked.
- Once cooked, let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
For Roasts without crackling:
- Preheat oven to 180°C
- Rub meat with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes per 500gm.
- Rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
Roasting tips revisited;
- Take the roast from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. This will take the chill out of the meat and allow it to cook more evenly. Never stand meat in direct sunlight. Stand meat in a cool kitchen (covered) for a short period of time (no longer than 30 mins for chicken and pork and 1 hour for beef and lamb) before cooking is fine.
- Use a roasting dish that is close to the size of the roast you are cooking. This will prevent the juices from evaporating. If you are making gravy, this is important as the juices will enhance the gravy’s flavour no end.
- Cook for the calculated time, baste the roast a couple of times. Use juices in roasting tin to baste the roast (spoon juices over surface of meat) as it cooks. Add a little stock to the dish if there’s only a small amount of pan juices.
- Check the temperature (or ‘doneness') about 10 minutes before the estimated cooking is up. Take larger roasts out of the oven just short of the goal, as larger roasts and bone in roasts especially tend to cook further and rise a little in temperature (and therefore, doneness) as they rest.
- Always allow the roast to rest before serving. This gives the juices in the meat a chance to redistribute, giving a moister and more tender result. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-20 minutes before carving.
More helpful information, technique videos and Tracey's tips can be found on The Cooks Collective along with the following:
How to Make Gravy video
How to Make Golden Crispy Roasted Potatoes video
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Some information and images in this article based on MLA Australian Meat and Lamb website and Australian Pork website.