So how was it then?

As you may be aware I decided to try another four bird roast for our Christmas dinner.

So how was it then?

Firstly it was very easy to cook, as instructed I cooked it in a deep roasting dish. I would certainly use a deep roasting dish as the stuffed goose does lose a fair amount of liquid. In addition the instructions recommend adding 500ml of water to the roasting dish, which I did.

I then covered the roast in foil and placed in a hot oven 220°C for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C for a further two and half hours. At this point I removed the foil, removed some of the excess liquid and basted the roast. It was then cooked for a further 30 minutes. It was then removed from the oven and allowed to rest for 40 minutes. During the resting period I finished off the other stuff that needed to cook in the oven.

Four Bird Roast, Goose, Turkey, Duck and Guinea Fowl

It was rather good, and a lot better than the Marks and Spencer one I had a few years ago. It seemed to work much better with the core of the dish been a goose over a turkey.

I was pleased with the roast potatoes, for which I used my regular recipe. Taking King Edward potatoes I cut them into smaller pieces than I normally would, so they would cook quicker. They were parboiled for eight minutes, drained and then roughened up. They were then placed in a pre-heated roasting tray with sunflower and olive oil. As I wanted them to cook quite quickly and there was a fair bit of other stuff in the oven, I dusted them with some plain flour. This helps to crispen them up when there is a lot in the oven or a lot of steam.

I also made my own stuffing. In the build up to Christmas I had tried a couple of fresh shop stuffings and wasn’t too impressed. What I found was that they were too meaty. I much prefer a more bread based stuffing and if it contains fruit or nuts, you can taste them. For our Christmas lunch I made two stuffings, one was pork and apple, the other was a fruit and nut. Using fresh breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, some decent pork sausagemeat, freshly chopped onion, egg to bind; and for one chopped apple, the other a handful of a festive fruit and nut assortment. These were then placed into a foil trays and baked in the oven.

We also had a nice mix of vegetables, parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrots and squash.

Overall I was very pleased with the meal, which was enjoyed by all.

Poached Chicken

Most Sundays we have a traditional roast dinner. This week I onlu had skinless chicken breasts in the fridge and I have always found roasting chicken breasts usually results in dry tough chicken. If using chicken portions, my preference is to use chicken thighs and legs.

So, in the end I sliced into the chicken, added a stuffing consisting of onion, mushrooms and basil. This I then wrapped in foil before poaching for twenty minutes. After cooking, I let them rest for at least five minutes before opening the foil parcels and slicing them.

PotatoesWith them I did some roast potatoes. Firstly you need to use the right kind of potatoes. It’s not as simple as buying any kind, the cheapest or whatever. This time I went with King Edward (as that was all that was available in the shop, well there were other varieties, but no Maris Piper.

After peeling and cutting into chunks the potatoes are blanched in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Now the size if dependent on how you like your roast poatoes and how long you have to cook them. Obviously smaller chunks means a shorter cooking time, whilst larger chunks though take longer are preferred by some people.

While the potatoes are blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil and one of sunflower oil. The key here is to heat the pan and the oil. I put the pan into the hot oven (with the oil added) for at least five minutes, not too long though.

After blanching the potatoes, drain and the key here is to let the heat dry the potatoes. If they go into the pan “wet” they won’t crisp up well. The next stage is to slightly “bash” the potatoes by shaking the colander or sieve, this will aid the crisping process too. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning them and maybe a little more “bashing”.

You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp.

Cooked for thirty to forty minutes (larger potatoes take longer). It is a good idea to turn the potatoes half way through to ensure a more even crispness. The end result should be tasty, crisp potatoes with a fluffy centre.

I also roasted some parsnips, carrots and onions. These I just cut into chunks. Place in a bowl, add some olive oil, mix to ensure the vegetables are well coated before placing in a hot oven for about twenty to thirty minutes.

Ready for roastingIn addition in another roasting pan, I took some diced onion, sliced courgette, mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes, these I roasted with a good dash of olive oil for ten minutes before adding some cubes of bread that soak up the juices and crisp up. Usually I will add these ingredients to the roasting tray I have roasted the meat in. However as I was poaching I just used a plain tray.

For gravy I made my own with a roux of butter, oil and flour to which I add stock and some red wine. Cook for at least five minutes.

To add colour and freshness I steamed some carrots, green beans and broccoli to serve with the meal.

Roasting Potatoes Perfectly

Potatoes

I do like roast potatoes and after trying many different varieties and techniques I believe I have now got a repeatable recipe and process for perfect roast potatoes.

Firstly you need to use the right kind of potatoes. It’s not as simple as buying any kind, the cheapest or whatever. I have in the past used King Edward potatoes which have worked, but more recently I have found Maris Piper to be a better choice. However this time I went with King Edward (as that was all that was available in the shop, well there were other varieties, but no Maris Piper.

After peeling and cutting into chunks the potatoes are blanched in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Now the size if dependent on how you like your roast poatoes and how long you have to cook them. Obviously smaller chunks means a shorter cooking time, whilst larger chunks though take longer are preferred by some people.

While the potatoes are blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil. Now you can use goose fat, and I have done in the past, but I am now using olive oil. You could use sunflower oil. I avoid butter generally because it burns and adds a bitter taste. The key here is to heat the pan and the oil. I put the pan into the hot oven (with the oil added) for at least five minutes, not too long though. So I put it in about 2-3 minutes before I drain them. After blanching the potatoes, drain and the key here is to let the heat dry the potatoes. If they go into the pan “wet” they won’t crisp up well. The next stage is to slightly “bash” the potatoes by shaking the colander or sieve, this will aid the crisping process too. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning them and maybe a little more “bashing”. You could add some flavouring, fresh sprigs of rosemary works well. You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp.

Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chunks, if you have parmentier sized chunks cooking time could be as low as 20 minutes. It is a good idea to turn the potatoes half way through to ensure a more even crispness.

The end result should be tasty, crisp potatoes with a fluffy centre.

Roast Potatoes

Roast Potatoes

So do you like small or large roast potatoes?

Large roasties do take longer to cook, but often with their fluffy interior have more of a potato taste.

Small roast potatoes on the other hand are quicker to cook, are often more crispy. However you have to be careful with the par-boiling as too long and you will have roasted mash.

From a nutritional perspective, smaller roast potatoes have a higher fat content, so making them big makes them a little healthier!

So do you like small or large roast potatoes? Either way using the right potatoes is also important, I now prefer Maris Piper over King Edwards, do you have a favourite type of potato?

More roast potatoes

After posting about how I made my roast potatoes, I cooked them again.

One of the key processes is the par-boiling which softens the potatoes and ensures they get really crispy.

For me the other key processes are leaving them drained par-boiled potatoes to dry before placing them in a hot roasting pan with hot oil. I know that some swear by goose or duck fat, and I do quite like that, but recently I have just been using a bit of sunflower oil and olive oil for flavour.

Other times I have added flavourings to my roast potatoes, this has included rosemary, onion, garlic, pancetta or a combination.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

I do like roast potatoes and after trying many different varieties and techniques I believe I have now got a repeatable recipe and process for perfect roast potatoes.

Firstly you need to use the right kind of potatoes. It’s not as simple as buying any kind, the cheapest or whatever.

I have in the past used King Edward potatoes which have worked, but more recently I have found Maris Piper to be a better choice.

After peeling and cutting into chunks the potatoes are blanced in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Now the size if dependent on how you like your roast poatoes and how long you have to cook them. Obviously smaller chunks means a shorter cooking time, whilst larger chunks though take longer are preferred by some people.

While the potatoes are blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil. Now you can use goose fat, and I have done in the past, but I am now using olive oil. You could use sunflower oil. I avoid butter generally because it burns and adds a bitter taste. The key here is to heat the pan and the oil.

After blanching the potatoes, drain and the key here is to let the heat dry the potatoes. If they go into the pan “wet” they won’t crisp up well.

The next stage is to slightly “bash” the potatoes by shaking the colander or sieve, this will aid the crisping process too. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning them and maybe a little more “bashing”. You could add some flavouring, fresh sprigs of rosemary works well. You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp.

Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chunks, if you have parmentier sized chunks cooking time could be as low as 20 minutes. It is a good idea to turn the potatoes half way through  to ensure a more even crispness.

The end result should be tasty, crisp potatoes with a fluffy centre.

That’s my recipe for roast potatoes, what’s yours?