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Steps to a perfect roast
June 8, 2014, 12:02 pm

It's high up there on most people's "favourite/last meal" lists, and for good reason. A Sunday roast with all the trimmings is the quintessential family feast, the perfect way to bring people around the table. Whether you prefer mutton or chicken — or maybe a leg of lamb's your go-to lazy lunch — these days you can pick up great meat to roast from the supermarket or local butcher. Here are the best tips for the perfect roast.

Long and slow: A long, slow cooking time means you can relax while waiting for it to cook, then enjoy some more while eating it. Chefs usually say that the best roast time is around 150- 160C; an average bird will take 2 1/2-3hrs at that temperature.

Ace of baste: Always rub the meat before cooking like an olive oil and lemon mixture that should be massaged into the meat before roasting. Throughout the cooking processes you've got the added option of basting as well. You can use the juices in the pan to baste, or you can make up an artificial baste to brush on to the meat as it's roasting away."You can make a baste out of equal parts olive oil, wine and lemon juice, which works well with lamb, giving a lovely concentration of flavors.

Sharp cuts: One of the easiest, quickest ways to get flavour into a leg of lamb is by putting incisions all over the joint with a sharp, thin knife. Fill these holes with slivers of garlic and rosemary and then rub the lot with some lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper. You can also use thyme or oregano instead of rosemary.

Cracking: Any cook can get best results by scoring the skin well with a sharp knife. That allows the fat underneath it to seep out and baste it. Give the skin a good rub of salt and a squeeze of lemon, and a course grind of fennel seeds is great — a simple flavouring that enhances the meat."

Terrific trimmings: Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes and winter vegetables are made for roasting. Also, pumpkins and parsnips are great trimmings to add taste to your roast as they add just the right amount of flavor. Some cooks like to add some fresh herbs and lemon or orange zest over the top to finish the roast vegetable before serving for a bit of zing.

Pan for gold: A great idea is to roast the meat and vegetable in the same pan as it introduces flavour into your dish. A heavy roasting pan can cook vegetables well, as the strong heat from the pan will nicely caramelize the vegetables. When cooking low and slow, start with meat only. Add in your vegetables only half way through.

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