Who can resist a good old Sunday lunch? Certainly not Greig Young, head chef at The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, who shares some secrets on serving up THE best roast
I love cooking in autumn. Everything is a bit of a slower pace and more comforting in general. Which brings me on to one of my favourite meals, the great Sunday roast. I’m easy to please, beef, chicken, lamb or pork. . . if there is gravy, I’m there!
It’s definitely something I’ve noticed getting more popular at The Northgate, which is lovely to see, as Sunday lunch for me is usually something you would associate with a lovely country pub with a roaring fire, hand-pulled pints and large family-sized bare wood tables. I like to keep it simple, great meat, homemade gravy, crispy yet fluffy potatoes, cauliflower or leek in a mustardy cheesy sauce, some roast root veggies and a big and tall yorkie.
This month I’m going to keep it easy and, hopefully, help you cook for your family bubble and close friends. Writing this now I’m not sure what the rules will be on eating out, so why not try and mix it up and have a bit of fun with your next lunch with your loved ones?
I always hear the same stresses over cooking at home, it mostly comes down to timing and people attempting too much. The best way is to keep it simple, buy the best quality you can and stick to a good few trusted sides to complement your main event. I love big sharing platters and am very excited to be serving my Christmas turkey wellington again this year at The Northgate.
This month I will give you my best tips and recipes to accompany the most regal of roasts.
This is more of a tried, tested and trusted technique of mine. First, start off with good floury potatoes, waxy ones are not your friend here. Peel them and chop them as normal and put in a pot with cold water. Add a good pinch of salt and a good teaspoon of baking powder. Make sure the pot isn’t too full as it bubbles! Cook them as far as possible until soft, then drain them straight away, don’t let them sit in the water as they will turn to mush. Ruffle them up in a colander or sieve and season with nice salt. Preheat trays at 190 with your fat of choice (make sure there is enough 1cm minimum) and when the potatoes have stopped steaming but still hot, carefully put them in. Mix and shake every 15 minutes until golden which should take about an hour.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup eggs
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt
This is a very simple recipe that you can find anywhere with equal quantities of milk, egg and flour. I substitute half the milk with water, which gives a crispier pudding, if you like a softer one use all milk. The salt is important for that lovely golden colour and that lovely flavour. My main tip for Yorkies is to make the batter the night before and keep in the fridge but cook it from room temperature, so take out the batter in the morning before lunch. Pour plain veg oil, clarified butter or beef dripping 5mm deep in a solid yorkie or muffin tin and preheat at 180 degrees (don’t be tempted to put too much in). Pour the batter in dead centre and fill just under ¾ full and get it in keeping that tray as hot as possible. Cook for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
This is a tip more than a recipe but I swear by it. It seems simple but the best things in cooking usually are. Peel parsnips or carrots and cut them lengthwise and in half again. In a bowl mix with a good pinch of salt, a few tablespoons of oil, a sprig of rosemary, a clove of garlic and a peel of lemon. Leave to marinade for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge. Line a flat tray with parchment paper and place the veg flat side down discarding the marinade and flavourings. Place another sheet of paper on top and another tray and put something on top to weigh it down. Carefully place in the oven at 190 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the weighted tray and turn the veg to the oven to finish for 10 more minutes, if they need some more colour.
Finish with your pistachio pesto or pumpkin seed dressing and you are in for a treat!
This is delicious and I simply spoon over roast carrots and serve. Any roast veg would be a perfect fit, from roast leftover pumpkin from Hallowe’en, to pan roasted brussel sprouts on a Christmas spread.
50g toasted shelled pistachios
50ml rapeseed oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup of nasturtium leaves, hand chopped (or rocket)
Good pinch of nice salt
Blend roughly or smash up in a pestle and mortar. Keep in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.
PUMPKIN SEED & CUMIN DRESSING
This is a super quick way to jazz up some basic roast veg to create a great side dish to remember. I would try it over some perfectly roasted parsnips and finish with a good pinch of freshly-chopped flat leaf parsley.
250ml rapeseed oil
75ml cider vinegar
25ml dijon mustard
100g pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Using a hand blender, mix the vinegar, lemon, mustard and honey, then slowly trickle in the oil while blending to emulsify.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a 180 degree oven with the cumin for 6 minutes. When chilled, hand chop, then add to the dressing. Best served at room temperature.
Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 339604