When I think back to my childhood, roast dinner was a Sunday lunchtime non-negotiable affair, all year round. In the summer months, roast potatoes were swapped for boiled minted new potatoes and the vegetables were always seasonal, but a roasted (and sometimes barbecued) joint or whole chicken was always prepared.
Roast dinners seemed to fall out of favour but are regaining popularity. However, I get the impression that a roast is something people are now mostly enjoying at a local pub rather than at home. Every Sunday, my social media feeds are filled with photos of huge Yorkshire puddings, crispy roast potatoes and delicious looking meats or nut roasts served at pubs across the country! But at a cost of at least £15 per head in a lot of places, it’s not a cheap meal.
And yet, having a Sunday roast does make good food sense if you cook it at home. Yes, a good quality, well-reared joint of meat or a whole chicken can cost a lot of money and a nut roast can take time to make, but it goes a long way. You can feed a large family or a group of friends and have leftovers to be used throughout the week or to go in the freezer. A chicken is particularly economical, the gift that keeps on giving with the bones providing stocks to give you further options for meals. In our house, the meals for the early part of the week were always determined by the Sunday roast –cold cuts on a Monday, stir fry or hash on a Tuesday, a pie or soup on a Wednesday.
Unlike many meals, the sides that accompany a roast are just as much the stars of the show as the meat. Preparing lots of vegetables, roast potatoes and stuffing means tummies can be filled with cheaper ingredients so that less meat is snaffled. Yorkshire puddings are served nowadays as a side, but there was a time that these were prepared as a starter and served with gravy to fill diners up before the expensive meat was brought to the table.
So, maybe it’s time for the return of the roast dinner at home? A thrifty meal that can be served all year round, making meal planning easier and a good opportunity for eating family-style – let’s get fighting over that last roast potato!
Will you join me in including a Sunday roast in your meal plan at least once a month this year?