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How to nail the perfect Sunday Roast

Wanna add some oomph to your Sunday lunch? We pinned down (not literally!) Olly Varney, Head Chef at Kite at the Red Hart in Hitchin, for his pro tips and tricks to help you elevate your roast to gastro levels.

How do you get the crispiest roasties? 

It all starts with picking the right potato, we tend to use king Edward potatoes as they have a fluffy texture when cooked. The key to getting them extra crispy is letting them air dry after you’ve boiled them, this will form a crust around the potato which, once you’ve roasted them with hot vegetable oil will give you the crispiest and fluffiest roast potato.

To Yorkshire pudding or not to Yorkshire Pudding?

Definitely Yorkshire pudding! Choose simple, good quality ingredients. You will need an equal ratio of strong plain flour, eggs and whole milk. Allow the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes then you are good to go. The temperature of the oven is key – it needs to be nice and hot (around 220C).

Any tips and tricks for zhuzhing up your veg?

For roast carrots and parsnips I make a glaze out of honey and orange juice. The honey brings out the sweetness, while the orange juice gives a slight bitterness which I think works really well together. Simply mix your vegetables in the glaze before roasting.

If you’re doing cauliflower cheese, a good quality cheddar is essential (don’t be shy on quantity), and a splash of truffle oil will take it to the next level.

And to take your greens up a notch, cook them in a beurre noisette. Just melt some butter down in a pan and heat until it turns slightly brown – this brings out a nutty flavour which is a winner when paired with any greens.

How long should you really rest your meat for?

Resting your meat is a crucial part of a roast as this will allow the juices from to absorb back into the meat, making it juicer and easier to carve. Just 20-30 minutes should do the trick. Also, letting your joint get to room temperature before roasting it is important, as this will help it to cook more evenly.

What’s your secret to making the ultimate gravy?

Start with good quality stock, plus some red wine or Guinness, and the juices from your joint (after resting). Reduce the alcohol then add the stock and juices, then keep reducing it until you have the right consistency. I like to whisk in a few knobs of butter at the end to make it a little bit more luxurious.

What’s your favourite roast and your drink of choice to wash it down?  

My personal favourite would be a aged beef sirloin with a dark ale, or a slow roasted pork belly, paired with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Read more about Kite at the Red Hart here in our Little Black Book.

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