Many people find cooking a roast intimidating, but it’s really very simple. Rest assured, it’s an easy main dish to prepare, and best of all, your guests will think you spent hours baby-sitting it.
Searing on the stove
You can get a nicely caramelized roast by searing it on the stove before roasting. Heat a large enough pan to hold the roast in, add small amounts of fat, and set the roast in the pan, turning it every few minutes until it forms a dark outer crust that seals its juices inside. But some patience is required, as you don’t want to turn it too soon. You want to wait and ensure that you get that deep golden crust.
Caramelize without searing
Caramelization is a beautiful thing. It brings great flavor, texture, and visual appeal to prime rib, pork roast, and leg of lamb.
When I was writing the recipes for the Breville Smart Oven, I wanted to show how it allows this “browning stage” to be achieved without having to sear the roast on the stove first. The convection fan circulates the air around the roast so perfectly that it will take on a golden brown color.
Six Tips for a perfect roast
Here are a few guidelines I like to follow when I make any roast such as prime rib, pork rib roast, whole chicken, or leg of lamb.
- Bring the roast to room temperature. That means taking it out of the refrigerator and allowing the roast to sit at room temperature for 1 – 1.5 hours. This will relax the muscle, making the roast tender, and will create a better caramelized crust.
- Pat the roast dry with paper towel. You don’t want any water to create steam in the oven, which can make the roast look gray. You want the heat of the oven to focus on the outer layer of the roast.
- Season the roast. It can be as simple as sprinkling it with salt and pepper or inserting slivers of garlic and rosemary sprigs into the roast by piercing it with the point of a knife. Or you could create a marinade like the one in this recipe. The possibilities are endless — it all depends on your taste, mood, and what you’d like to serve with your roast. You could go with Indian, Italian, or Asian flavors. The roast is your canvas, and the herbs and seasoning your paint.
- Cook the roast at 420°F (210°C) for 20 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 350°F (176°C). Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the roast reaches your desired doneness. Starting with a higher temperature helps the roast get that nice caramelized crust.
- Remove the roast when it reaches 10°F (6°C) below the temperature you are trying to achieve. The roast will continue cooking even though it is out of the oven. This is called “carry-over cooking.”
- Finally, and most importantly, allow the roast to rest at least 20 minutes before carving into it. This resting stage allows the juices to redistribute while relaxing the tense muscle.
Follow these simple guidelines when cooking roasts and you’ll be quite pleased with the results — and so will your guests!
Herbed leg of lamb
- 4-pound leg of lamb (1.8 kg)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 mL)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (5 mL)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil (60 mL)
- ¼ cup fresh rosemary, loosely packed (60 mL)
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano (45 mL)
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (45 mL)
- 2 tablespoons honey (30 mL)
- In a blender or food processor, pulse together garlic, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and honey. Keep blending while you drizzle in olive oil.
- Place the lamb onto a glass dish and pour the marinade over the lamb. Be sure to completely coat the lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 24.
- If using the Smart Oven: Place lamb on the broil rack with the baking pan underneath to catch the drippings. Position the wire rack at the bottom of the oven and turn the function dial to ROAST. Set the temperature to 420°F (210°C) and set the timer for 20 minutes. Press Start/Cancel button to activate.
If using a conventional oven: Place lamb in roasting pan in 420°F (210°C) oven.
- After 20 minutes, turn the temperature down to 320°F (160°C) and roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (not near the bone) registers your preferred doneness.
- Remove the roast and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.