A Proper Sunday Roast
Park yourself at the pub for this iconic tradition!
The Best Meal of the Week
Sunday roast is a weekly ritual that is close to our hearts. In fact, we don’t consider a weekend complete before tucking into a traditional roast with all the fixin’s, including a pint of English ale. We caught up with our own Chef Ryan Lister to find out what inspired him to perfect his version of Britain’s most beloved meal, as well as a few cheeky tips and tricks for home cooks.
What memories does Sunday roast evoke for you?
Sunday roast makes me think of my family: Mum, Dad, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. When I was growing up, we would go to my Nan’s house for Sunday roast every single week. The smell of swede being mashed with butter and black pepper will always make me think of her kitchen. Her gravy is liquid gold. (Nan’s top tip: save the water from your peas and carrots, and then add it to the gravy for a little sweetness. It’s a game-changer.) I loved her crispy roast potatoes — each one individually basted with lard. The older we got, the more we had to control ourselves when all the food was being brought to the table. To me this was the ultimate family meal. I’ll always remember gathering around the table and passing the 10 different side dishes — and the legendary gravy. Magic!
What is the best time of day to tuck into a Sunday roast?
We always had roast at about 1:30pm, so it was traditionally a Sunday lunch for us. But in all honesty, there is no best time. I would happily smash a roast dinner at 12pm, 6pm or 10pm!
What is the secret to cooking a perfect roast beef?
This depends on the cut of beef, but to me the ultimate choice is rib eye. I suggest taking the beef out an hour or so before cooking so it comes to room temperature. Season it generously with salt and pepper. Skewer underneath the string, tying the rib eye tight with rosemary. Place it into a 450° oven on a bed of large-cut carrots and whole onions (you can eat the onions with your roast and save your carrots for the gravy making). Cook the beef for about an hour and then lower your oven to 350°. It should be nice and golden at this point. I cook my rib eye to just about medium (130°) so it rests up to just below medium-well (145°) so all the fat is broken down and the meat is proper tender and juicy. Remove the beef from the tray and let it rest for at least an hour, whilst you cook the potatoes and Yorkshires.
How do you get your roasties so crispy and tasty?
It’s all about the pre-boil. Place your peeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Season generously with salt, as we won’t be adding more later. Place on high heat until the water comes to a boil then turn to a simmer. When the potatoes and just undercooked, strain them and let them steam dry for one minute. This is crucial. Then gently toss them around in the colander so that the edges start to break apart a little. Don’t destroy them, you still have to be gentle. Next you need to add them to pre-heated fat, at about 400°. My Nan always to taught me to use plenty of fat, whether that be duck fat, vegetable oil or, in her case, lard. Carefully place your potatoes in a semi-deep tray with the already hot fat. Baste each potato. Cook them for about 30 minutes without moving. Then flip them and keep going until they are crispy. Pay attention to each spud — you may have to flip them again. Eat them straight away — don’t wait 30 minutes!
How do you bring out the flavour in your carrots?
At Liberty Commons we are lucky enough to work with farmers who produce the best heirloom carrots. If you’re at home and you want to add a little flavour to your carrots, try adding four parts water, one part orange juice, one part butter and a little thyme. Cover the carrots and place a cartouche (parchment lid) on top and cook until just tender, and then remove the lid and reduce the liquid. This will eventually create the perfect glaze for your carrots.
No Sunday roast would be complete without Yorkshire pudding. Any tips on making sure your Yorkies are fat, crisp and fluffy all at once?
Our recipe at the pub is secret (sorry!), BUT the good ol’ fashioned version with equal parts flour, milk, and large eggs works at home. Make sure you add a little salt, too. Have your muffin trays hot. Like, really hot. Now, be fast! Fill your trays to just below the rim and place the Yorkshires into a 375° oven for about 30 minutes and DO NOT open the door. I mean it. Open the door too early and your Yorkies will go flat. Be patient and treat those beauties with care.
What goes into creating a proper gravy?
It’s simple… kind of. Take your pan that you roasted the beef in and place it onto the stove top. Add a little butter and sliced onions and garlic (as well as the leftover carrots from the roast). Caramelize and add a little flour to create a roux. Cook out your flour. Now, add a good roasted beef stock as well as that “secret pea water” Nan spoke about. Bring to a boil and skim off any excess fat. Season to your taste buds. I like to add a little Worcestershire sauce for acidity but don’t tell me Nan!
What Big Rock beer pairs best with Sunday roast?
Any beer works but I love a pint of Warthog Ale or Traditional Brown Ale. Both English-style ales pair perfectly English grub!
Does Sunday roast ever make you homesick for England?
Every week. I love Canada and it is my new adopted home, but Sunday roast is so ingrained in me as a person. I miss it and my whole family every week.
Don’t fancy cooking this Sunday? Make the most of your weekend and join us at the pub for the roast of your dreams.