A beautiful roast can be the highlight of a dinner, but what about when it goes wrong? There’s just no ‘fixing’ an overcooked, dried out hunk-o-meat, so listen up to today’s reminders on roasting basics!
Preparing a roast is simple enough, there’s no finicky prep because it arrives from the butcher trussed, tied, and oven-ready. Still, much like my Perfect Roast Turkey or Chicken, there are certain steps to take to ensure a satisfactory result.
Roasting meat is an art akin to baking bread or shaping pasta. The final product should yield a evenly-browned, well-crusted exterior, and a moist and tender center.
The lovely cookbook, Sunday Roasts: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering Roasts, from Old-Fashioned Pot Roasts to Glorious Turkeys, and Legs of Lamb offers some excellent tips for roasting than can be applied to many types of roasts. The author, Betty Rosbottom, suggests making a roast for Sunday dinner because it is a day when “…many cooks have a few free hours at home…and those leftovers are perfect for the rest of the week.”
I quite agree. Here are a few more tips from Sunday Roasts.
Make friends with your butcher -or at least acquaintances. Request your meat to be cut fresh and let him know how many people you are serving. I sometimes call ahead and make my request so my meat is packaged and waiting for me. I always take a look at the cut before I buy it though!
Invest in a good roasting pan, ideally a flameproof one so they can be used on the stove-top for making an accompanying sauce. I use a 14-inch Oval Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Pan for most of my roasts. I received it second-hand and it still has a long life of roasting ahead.
Use an instant-read meat thermometer for testing the roast’s internal temperature. We all want to avoid overcooking a roast, right? I recommend this Maverick Electronic Thermometer and Timer that has multiple customizable settings for 15 different types of meat. It also is magnetized and doubles as a handy timer on my fridge door.
Bring the roast to room temperature before roasting and preheat the oven. Both actions help ensure that the roast is cooked evenly.
Let the roast rest before carving. This is crucial. I say a minimum of five minutes and up to half an hour of resting time, depending on the size of the roast and the variety of meat. A roast chicken, for example, can rest much longer without overcooking than a roast beef.
Save the pan juices for the sauce. This also goes for any juices that accumulate while the roast is resting. My standard sauce is pan juices + a splash of wine + a pat of butter whisked it. That’s it, that’s all.
Carve with a sharp knife. Please.
|Balsamic-Glazed Roast Pork with Caramelized Onions||
- 2.5 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
- salt & pepper
- 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 250ml/1 cup balsamic vinegar
- (optional: 3-5 bacon strips)
- Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a roasting pan.
- Pat the pork roast dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper. Place in the roasting pan and wrap with bacon, if using.
- Place in the center of the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop onions into 1-inch wedges, leaving the root ends intact.Toss onions with olive oil and a little more salt and pepper.
- Remove roast from oven and add the onions to roasting pan, arranging them around the roast.
- Pour the balsamic vinegar over the roast and the onions and return the pan to the oven.
- Continue to cook the roast for another ten to 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 150F. Baste the roast with the balsamic a few times during this final cooking process.
- Remove the pan from the oven and tent roast loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes, then remove butcher’s twine and carve.
- Serve with caramelized onions on the side.
Poultry, beef, leg of lamb? What is a favorite roast dinner in your home?