A roast dinner is surely one of life’s great pleasures. Whatever the centrepiece – slowly roasted lamb shoulder, rib of beef, chicken….. – the highlights of a roast are mainly with the dishes served with it.
On this page I have given my recipes for some of my favourite accompaniments.
A stress-free roast?
Most of the accompanying dishes for a roast can be prepared and, in some cases, fully cooked well in advance so that it is a matter of reheating just before you are ready to serve. The recipes have full tips about getting ahead so that there is no need to frantically try to juggle all the dishes at the last minute.
I tend to prepare the vegetables, especially for a Christmas dinner, the night before. For me this includes:
- peeling and chopping the veg
- par-boiling the potatoes (and then swishing them around in a little fat just to lightly coat them)
- cooking veg such as carrots, swede, sprouts: retaining a bit of bite so when they are reheated before serving they are perfect!
- making the stuffing
- preparing the pigs in blankets
To make life easier, you can simply pop most of the veg in dishes, covered with foil, into the oven to warm up rather than wrestle with many pans on the hob
Let the meat rest: you get the juiciest meat AND this gives you time!
If serving meat, once the meat is out of the oven it is important to leave it to rest on the side for an hour or so: ideally covered. It will keep warm but, crucially, the resting ensures:
- the meat will be moist and easy to carve
- it releases some of the juices that can then be made into the gravy or added to a gravy if you have one already made
- it gives you time to calmly finish off or reheat the veg
Note: once the meat is out of the oven, this is the time I turn up the oven temperature, pop a roasting tray with fat into the oven for 10 minutres or so before then adding my par-boiled potatoes to roast.
Perfect accompaniments to a roast dinner
The very best roast potatoes
Super-crisp on the outide and fluffy inside, roast potatoes make a roast dinner sing loud and proud or whimper pitifully: perfect roast potatoes
Crisp, tall Yorkshire puddings – a real joy.
The secrets to perfect Yorkshire Puddings every time: Yorkshire Puddings
For the best carrots (honeyed, with parsley and just a hint of optional truffle!): my ultimate carrots
I often do this with swede or turnips.
No need to cut crossed into the bases, just steam for a few minutes and toss with chestnuts, bacon: my perfect Brussels sprouts
NB: this dish also works brilliantly with shredded Savoy cabbage.
Pigs in blankets
For the best pigs in blankets, glazed with honey and thyme and stuffed with apricots and cranberry sauce: pigs in blankets
For my favourite stuffing (great for cooking inside the meat or cooked separately), which is laden with herbs, apricots, nuts and sausagemeat: stuffing
For the most delicous gravy to bring everything together: gravy