By Kevin Dalgleish, Executive Chef
Everyone loves a good roast beef dinner on Sunday, surrounded by friends and family. But the side dishes that accompany the main event are just as important: the fine line between a crisp and soggy Yorkshire pudding can make or break a Sunday lunch.
Here at The Chester Hotel, we take our side dishes very seriously. At home, as in a professional kitchen, preparation is everything. Chop and measure out all your ingredients in advance, so when you’re in the heat of the moment all you need to worry about is timing. There’s nothing worse than getting to the next step of a recipe only to discover you’ve a whole lot of peeling to do!
To start you off on your culinary journey, here’s the secret to three of our most popular accompaniments...
Perfect Roast Potatoes
1. Peel your potatoes so they’re roughly the same size. This will ensure that they take the same length of time to cook. Next, steam or boil them in salted water for around 20 minutes. This will give the potatoes a nice floury effect, so they’ll be crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside when they’re done.
2. Make sure your potatoes have dried out and melt some goose fat over a low heat. Coat the potatoes gently – this will give them a really rich flavour, perfect to compliment your beef. You can add some whole cloves of garlic at this point, too, for extra flavour.
3. Pop your potatoes (and garlic) onto a baking tray and stick them in the oven for 15 minutes at 210oC. Shake them every five minutes to make sure they’re cooked evenly, and to distribute the goose fat all over the outside.
4. For an extra-indulgent finish, coat the potatoes in butter with herbs like thyme and parsley when they’re fresh out of the oven and add salt to taste.
Sumptuous Yorkshire Puddings
1. Whisk four eggs and add to 140g of plain flour. Add 150ml of milk and whisk to a nice consistency, adding another 50ml if required. Pass the batter through a metal sieve to remove any lumps.
2. Make sure the mix is nice and cold when you’re working with it – you can even make this in the morning and put in the fridge at this point.
3. Heat some beef dripping, vegetable oil or goose fat in a muffin tin for 10 minutes at 220oC – you want it to be nice and hot. Pour the batter into the tray, but don’t fill each section to the top – this will allow space for them to rise.
4. Put in the oven for around 15 minutes. When they’ve stopped rising, it’s time to take them out and serve immediately.
Decadent Red Wine Sauce
Serves six to eight
1. Heat some vegetable oil until smoking hot in a heavy-based pan and add 200g of beef trim. Leave the beef to stick to the base of the pan slightly as this will create flavour later.
2. Once browned, set the beef to one side and add fresh oil along with 40g of finely sliced shallots. Peel and dice one carrot and add to the pan. Allow the vegetables to caramelise but keep them moving. Next add three sliced button mushrooms, whole garlic cloves and some thyme.
3. Add the beef back into the pan and turn the heat up high. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with sherry vinegar – this will lift any bits of beef or vegetables stuck to the base and unlock a whole new world of flavour.
4. Add around half a bottle of red wine – Merlot or Malbec works really well. And, if you’re cooking at home, you might like to pour yourself a wee glass just now too!
5. Reduce the sauce right down almost to a syrup, before adding a litre of veal stock or a couple of shop-bought stock pots. Cook this through, pass through a metal sieve and you’re ready to serve.
Would you rather leave it to the professionals? Click here to book a table for Sunday lunch at The Chester Hotel.