Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Sunday roast of sorts

The thing about living alone is that you can really miss a Sunday roast. There's something special about this British tradition of roasted meat, potatoes and vegetables, plus gravy and maybe stuffing, and followed with a proper pudding. Ideally accompanied by a bottle of good wine.

If I'm lucky, I'll be invited to a friend's for the roast, or we might meet at a restaurant so someone else gets to cook and wash up. Small as my house is, I try to invite people round once in a while for my own Sunday cooking even if it means eating off our laps on the sofa.

But even when I'm on my own, I still want something "roast-like" on a Sunday. Every few weeks I'll buy a small chicken because I can do lots of interesting things with the leftovers, including making stock from the carcass. If you don't have a joint, however, there are still things you can toss in the oven for an hour that almost replicate the meal. The following dish makes just enough for a generous portion.

What you need: 
3 good quality sausages
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
8-10 baby plum tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
A handful of new potatoes (or old ones cut into small chunks)
Olive oil

What to do:
Heat the oven to 210C. Line a roasting tin with some foil then put all the ingredients in and drizzle generously with the olive oil. Turn everything with your hands until well coated. Season with sea salt and black pepper and tuck in a couple of bay leaves. Put in the oven for about an hour. I usually have a look about halfway through and turn things again with a wooden spatula to make sure everything browns evenly. It's ready when the house is full of wafting aromas and everything looks pleasingly sticky and just crispy round the edges.

Cook's tips: 
If you don't have sausages, use a couple of chicken thighs. You can use whatever vegetables you have to hand - peppers cut into quarters, chunks of butternut squash, carrots, parsnips and wedges of fennel are all good options. Don't leave out the potatoes though - it's these that help create the illusion of a Sunday roast.

Depending on the ingredients of the sausage, I might use a flavoured olive oil. I particularly like using a lemon-flavoured olive oil if I use chicken and then I'll also tuck in a couple of lemon quarters and bit more garlic. If you use half a ring of chorizo cut into chunks, you could use chilli oil to boost the spiciness.