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what to make when

What to make when... you want a roast that doesn't take all day

All the flavour and comfort of a roast dinner, without the fuss.

THE JOYS OF a roast dinner. There are few meals that are as satisfying. All of those delicious flavours, sides, gravy… we just love everything about it.

But let’s be honest, there can be a lot of preparation involved – and maybe it’s just us, but this can lead to a LOT of mess in the kitchen. On a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, this can be a big commitment.

We’re here to make life a bit easier for the next time that roast dinner craving comes along, and we’ve pulled together some recipes that will curb any roast craving, but won’t result in hours of slaving away in the kitchen (with a veggie option too!). From succulent pot roast beef to full-of-flavour beer-can chicken, we’ve something for every craving this Bank Holiday weekend.

Chicken traybake: This all in one oven roasted chicken is perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch when you want something comforting but simple to prepare with no washing up. Place baby potatoes, sliced carrots and whole cloves of garlic in a roasting tin, season and drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 20 minutes. If you like some spice, now is the time to add it, as seen in The Wonky Spatula’s recipe.

Remove from the oven and add chicken thighs, red onion, peppers, a dash of white wine, a cup of chicken stock, and bake at 200ºC for 35 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.

Pot roast beef: This is a slow cooked recipe, but requires very little effort or preparation time so it’s ideal for a leisurely weekend dinner. Season a joint of silverside beef well, then brown on all sides in a large casserole dish. Remove from the dish and set aside, then add sliced onions and thyme, and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until softened.

Add some sliced carrots, a splash of red or white wine, and 3 cups of beef stock. Place the meat back in the casserole, cover tightly with a lid, and place in the oven for 2 hours at 160ºC.

If you like a thicker sauce, remove the meat once it’s cooked and simmer the liquid on the hob for about 10 minutes until reduced. Serve with creamy mashed potato.

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Rack of lamb: A rack of lamb cooks much quicker than some larger cuts of meat, and can be on the table in just over half an hour. Season lamb well with salt, pepper, olive oil and some chopped rosemary and fry until golden, then place in a roasting tin. Bake at 200 C for 25 minutes, or a little longer if you prefer it well cooked.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then serve with greens and boiled baby potatoes. If you have a little extra time to prepare your lamb, why not make a herb and mustard crust as seen in Conor Bofin’s recipe.

Roast cauliflower: Whole roasted cauliflower is seriously tasty, and makes a great alternative to a traditional roast joint of meat. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot for about five minutes, then allow to cool slightly while you make the marinade.

In a bowl, mix together butter, olive oil, crushed garlic, ground cumin and seasoning and set aside. Coat the cauliflower with the marinade, making sure the whole vegetable is covered, and bake for about 30 minutes, until you can easily pierce the cauliflower with a skewer. Squeeze a lemon over it, along with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt, and serve with couscous and greens.

Beer can chicken: This is a roast with a twist! Coat the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, cayenne pepper, seasoning and marinade overnight if you have time. Open a can of beer and pour half of the liquid out, then insert it into the cavity of the chicken, so the chicken is sitting on it.

Carefully place the chicken standing up, in a roasting tin, and bake for about 80 minutes at 200 C (depending on the size of your chicken – always consult the label). Packed with flavour and perfectly moist from the steam of the beer, this recipe needs little extra in terms of sides – serve simply with roast veg and boiled baby potatoes. In a serious hurry? Cook it in a pressure cooker, as Mummy Barrow does.

More: What to make when… you want dinner tonight, and leftovers tomorrow>

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