Now that it is certifiably winter, there's no better excuse than to be cooking delicious roast dinners. One thing I've learned is that there are whole different worlds of roasting. Thinking about all the roast dinners I've had in my life, I can attribute different styles of roasts to different people. I'd say my mum's are French-inspired - real herbs, lemons and nice vegetables cooked alongside. My grandparents' roasts are much more traditional, served with lovely rich gravy and root vegetables, often straight out their garden. Mmmm.
When it comes to cooking a roast myself, I'm quite a fan of rubbing, marinading and then slow cooking. I tend to buy less classic cuts of meet - lamb and pork shoulders recently. I like grinding up spices - like cumin seeds or fennel seeds - with garlic, salt and chilli, and maybe paprika. Then cooking for hours and hours on a low temperature. I cooked a shoulder of lamb for 13 hours in anticipation of dinner last Sunday and it was just so, so tender and moist. The meat was literally falling off the bone as I took a knife to it, while the exterior was crispy and spicy.
Accompaniments matter too. I've been inspired by my recent visit to Moro and served recent roasts with braised cabbage topped with yoghurt and sumac. Celariac mash accompanied a pork shoulder...
...and a full Ottolenghi-esque mezze accompanied the lamb. I served it with roast potatoes and artichokes with lemon and olives, grilled peppers in green tahini, beetroot with yoghurt and dill, lemon braised fennel, and braised cabbage with yoghurt and sumac again. It was delicious.
I'm going to experiment with some other roasting styles over the Winter. I have the Silver Spoon and a friend recently gave me Ripailles, so there should be lots of new inspirations!