The Perfect Sunday Roast

Coming together for a home-cooked roast dinner, at the end of the week, is a really enjoyable and wholesome way of spending some time with friends or family, and having a relaxing afternoon, before the busy week ahead.

Whether you’re cooking for a large group or just feeding a few, getting a roast dinner ready isn’t always easy, especially if you’re doing all the trimmings. But with the right planning and preparation, you can avoid some of the stresses of hosting and it shouldn’t become too much of a chore.

The first thing I do, when having friends or family round for a Sunday roast, is make a list of everyone who’s coming and mark down any dietary requirements that people might have. This can be really useful if you’re hosting for a larger group. Once you’ve done this, plan what the meal will consist of, and what you may need to buy to prepare it.

After getting all of your ingredients together, make a mental note of how long each thing takes to cook and then decide when you want to serve your dinner. Working backwards from your selected serving time, calculate when each dish needs to start cooking, so that it is all ready at the same time.

It’s time to start cooking. First things first, preheat your oven to the specified cooking temperature of your chosen meat, or vegetarian alternative and then place the food into a suitable dish, to be cooked in.

Now you should start thinking about preparing the vegetables, and any other trimmings you might want to include. Cut your vegetables into pieces and place them into an oven-safe dish, before tossing them in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Alongside your vegetables, you might want to prepare sides like, Yorkshire puddings, mashed or roasted potatoes, bread sauce, cauliflower cheese, and stuffing to really enhance your meal. If you do opt to include some of these things, make sure you’re allowing enough time for everything to cook thoroughly. This might mean everything has to start cooking at separate times or on separate heats.

Once everything is in, and cooking away, you might have some time to lay your table. By placing a jug of water, or bottles of your chosen drink on the table, you can save yourself the job of getting everyone drinks individually, when they arrive. Make sure there is space for everyone who’s coming, and place any condiments, like cranberry sauce, mint sauce, or salt and pepper, in the middle of the table, for people to help themselves.

If you are hosting for a larger party, warming your plates can be a really good idea, as it will help you avoid things going cold whilst you’re serving up. Whilst your plates are warming, use a thermometer to make sure any meat is cooked through.

As soon as you’re confident everything is cooked, it’s time to start serving up. Make sure you’ve mashed your mash and prepared your gravy, before plating up other things. Serve an equal amount of each element for each person, taking time to ensure your food is well-presented. Having spent such a long time preparing the food, you’ll want to make sure it looks nice too.

Finally, deliver your plates to the table, where hopefully your guests will be waiting patiently. As your guests tuck into your home-cooked Sunday roast, make sure everyone has got everything they might need to enjoy their food, and then… relax.

Try and enjoy the meal as much as your guests will. If you’re calm and relaxed, you’ll put your guests at ease, which should make for a more comfortable atmosphere.

Once everyone has finished with the food, clear the table, and suggest that your guests go and relax. Don’t worry about washing the pots or loading the dishwasher just yet. Go and enjoy the time with your friends and family. You can do any cleaning or tidying once people have gone home.

Throughout the whole process, it’s important to remember that cooking a roast dinner isn’t easy, especially if you’ve not got much experience of doing this, and that it is the thought and effort that is the most important thing. Your friends and family will be more interested in spending time together and enjoying their Sunday.