The Sunday roast
Kathie Auton - 14 March 2012
We used to be pretty organic-y, before we dropped two children and one salary. Nowadays our household is still all about enjoying our food, but we're not slavishly organic. It would be easy to put this down to simply not having as much cash, but there's more to it than that. I used to love my veg box, but more because my local greengrocer's was an easy trundle down the hill and a big, sweaty, pram marathon up it. And it's not like we've ditched everything organic. Like a lot of people we buy organic yogurt, eggs and often milk without really thinking about about it being organic. And when you think about it, that's a hell of an achievement for the organic movement, that there are organic brands that are the norm and probably find their way into the least organic households.
So is there any point being a bit organic? I think so. An organic chicken is a delightful thing. It's pale and depressing £4.99 neighbour isn't very appetising, even if you've no interest in its home-life. Spending a bit of cash on The Sunday Roast feels appropriate, especially if your roast sees you through Monday and Tuesday…
So here are a few ideas of how to take your pricey, but delectable organic chicken or other roasting meat and make it pay its way by lasting until Tuesday. I'm a big believer in leftovers. I'd also like to stand up for their rights. We should reclaim the term 'leftovers' and use it, brashly, as a positive. Ditch the image of second-day misery – leftovers are magnificent, they grow (stop thinking of mould) on day two, they shine on day three.
Sunday – have a roast. You don't need to be told how to do this except to bear in mind it does not need to be an epic, pain in the backside, meal. We make many an all-in-one roast whereby you chuck veg around whatever you're roasting and have jacket potatoes instead of roasties (although this always causes a degree of sadness in my husband). The only thing you must do is rest your meat because it's life-changingly important and make gravy.
Monday – eat your leftovers. Do it with badge-wearing pride. Remember bubble and squeak? Make it! Revel in the way a microwave can return roast potatoes to their just-out-the-oven gloriousness. Keep your meat cold and pile on the pickles, this is Monday night relaxation at its very best. If you need anything more to get you in the mood, record Antiques Roadshow on Sunday and watch it on Monday while you steam the other half of your cabbage from yesterday. Bliss.
Make Roast Dinner Burgers
Leftovers – any meat, veg, gravy, sauces (apple, cranberry, horseradish, etc etc)
Breadcrumbs – You're getting out the processor for this recipe anyway, so just blitz up a few leftover slices or crusts
Oil or butter
(I give no quantities here because it doesn't even vaguely matter)
- Preheat your oven to 200-220°
- Pulse your leftovers in the food processor or chop by hand if you have time. Aim for chunky but finely and evenly chopped (not a mush).
- Crack in your egg and give it a stir. If it's really soggy, use breadcrumbs to get it to the mouldable stage.
- Mould into rather flimsy and squashy burger shapes and coat in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. This is undeniably messy, these burgers are only really burger shaped and probably won't hold together very well. This, however, is because they are made up of purest roast dinner, gravy and accompaniments and it a testament to how delicious they are going to be.
- Put your burgers on an non-stick baking sheet (I use one of those silicone sheets). And drizzle a little oil or pop a little bit of butter on top
- Cook them for 10-15 mins or until they are hot through, browned and crunchy on the outside.
- Eat in a bun with salad and more of whatever roast-appropriate sauce you fancy.
Tuesday - If your roast was a lump of meat, you ought to have kept a small amount back from Monday. If you roast had a bone or was a bird, you can make use of it on Tuesday.
Three suggestions for you here.
- (Peanut butter) Stir fry with leftover meat and noodles. Add stir fry veg and, if it's pork, frozen prawns (think Singapore noodles and Chow Mein, not as weird as it first sounds...). This could also easily be a noodle soup of some sort. If you're feeding kiddies and have yet to convert them to the mighty stir-fry, can I suggest that as well as garlic, ginger and 5-spice, you stir through a tablespoon on peanut butter? When the veg is cooked, add a splash of water to make a peanutty sauce.
- Soup – obvious really if you've got bones of any sort left. I'd make 'stock' in the loosest sense by boiling up the leftover bones with celery, carrot, onion, pepper corns and any herbs that are going manky. Give a good boil, then discard the veg and perform intricate surgery on the bones to extract every last bit that could still be described as meat. Chuck that back in the pan with any veg you've got. Throw in tiny pasta or pearl barley to lift the spirits and serve it with a blob of pesto of that tickles your fancy.
- Baked risotto. What I give here is a basic recipe. You add to it whatever you have that needs eating up, thus magically transforming it from a depressingly small amount of meat into a comforting plate of greed.
Risotto rice, 300g makes plenty for four
Stock (from cubes, there's no shame) 900ml, some of this liquid could be wine if you've got any lurking in the fridge.
Onions, carrots, celery, garlic
Random veg – frozen peas are always good, just add them 3 mins before serving, grated courgette, leftover roast veg, chopped mushrooms etc
Parmesan – lots, about a third of a pack or more. Cheddar if you're out of parmesan, not as good but not a disaster. Blue cheese equally good of course.
- Preheat oven to 200°
- In a large, oven proof pan (I use a large sauté pan). Fry your fined chopped onion, celery, garlic and carrot until getting soft. Use a generous amount of olive oil.
- Throw in the rice and give it a good stir.
- Stir in your meat and veg. Add your hot stock and return to the boil.
- Stick it in the oven for about 25-30 mins, give it a stir halfway through or more often.
- Take it out and stir in the cheese, keeping back some to sprinkle on top.
Kathie has two young children and is taking a break from teaching to be a full-time mum. She is passionate about cooking and growing good food and takes any opportunity to get her kids involved in the kitchen.