With Christmas and New Year's only weeks away , its' time to think of the the man dish, the roast..Many home chefs freak out at the idea of it. There;s so much prep, and pressure to cook it correctly and give family and guests , moist juicy slices. The best way of dealing with this is picking a roast that fits the skill level. That way there's a delicious roast, with little or no mistakes.
Neophyte home chefs should look into roast chicken for their first holiday meal. It's the simplest meat to roast and the finished product is always a good one.It only takes an hour to make and prep time is almost nil. You can just rub it with butter, salt and pepper and then pop it into the oven. Herbs such as rosemary and thyme accentuates the flavor even more and you can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon or orange juice before adding the seasoning. If you're having more than five you could get two chickens or better yet a capon or gelded rooster.An eight pound one does take two hours to cook and there is some basting required. Yet it's not that difficult and a first time roaster can do it.Fish is another easy roast. Go for a bronzino or a trout, s slim fish that cooks up easily. It can be seasoned with ginger, garlic and Asian sesame oil for an Oriental flavor, Give it a Mediterranean flair with chopped parsley, and red peppers along with salted capers and garlic. Bring the Caribbean to the holiday table by giving the fish a paste bath of ginger, garlic clove and allspice.Roasting time is only thirty minutes so there's no worry about it drying out or constant basting.
Intermediate home chefs may want to try leg of lamb for their Christmas or New Year's dinner.Again it's an easy roast of only thirty minutes. Most cooks usually make it with a rub of garlic and rosemary. There's even a thin gravy of red wine, diced onions and chicken stock liberally laced with rosemary, chives and parsley.It can also be made Greek style with lemons and oregano. It should be bone in roast so you can get that extra taste/ If you want a more well done meat then roast for another half an hour or hour more.Roast beef or London broil is another good main dish for intermediate chefs to make.It's an easy seasoning of just salt and pepper, and olive oil. Small slits are made throughout the meat for garlic cloves. Roasting takes two to three hours. The meat is cooked in a very hot oven at 375 degrees F for the first half hour to brown it, then at a lower 225 degrees F for the last ninety minutes.This gives you enough time to make the sides and gravy too.Intermediate and experienced chefs may want to try something grander for Christmas dinner such as turkey.It's an elegant way to celebrate even though it can be a bit of work. Home chefs should roast the bird breast side down for a moister meat.It should be roasted on a bed of layered celery for a more delicious and flavorful gravy. Butter should be rubbed all over the outside for tender meat.It should be basted every so often. This makes the skin cracklier and crispier and then it should be tented with aluminum foil.The bigger the turkey the more times it needs to cook. A small eight to twelve pound bird takes three hour, one double the size at sixteen pounds takes a whopping six to six and a half hours to thoroughly cook.
Don't freak out at making the holiday roast. Pick the one that fits your experience level and run with it. You'll come out with a memorable and delicious Christmas or New Year's dinner that will be perfect.