Sunday Roast Special!

Let me tell you about George. George is a funky, chunky kind of guy. A guy every girl likes having around the house. Especially around the kitchen. Or in the kitchen! ;) You see, our George makes one mean Sunday roast! Chicken is his speciality – succulent, delicious, with golden crispy skin. Simply to die for. Leaves us breathless every time. And very very happy.

And the best of all is – every girl/boy can have a George! You see, George is our – rotisserie! :D

He he! I bet you all thought George is my new heartthrob! Well maybe he is… This is one hell of a roast we’re talking about here!

I’m giving you three recipes in one tonight, three recipes for fantastic British-style Sunday roasts: Chicken with tarragon, and Lamb with rosemary + gravy. The first roast is made with our George’s help, and the other in the oven. Actually, both can be successfully made in the oven, so don’t worry if you don’t have a George. The gravy recipe may not be traditional, but it’s definitely tasty!

Which one do I prefer? Oh no, don’t make me chooose….. I love both!

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Recipe 1

 

Roast Chicken with Tarragon Rub

 

SOURCE: Our George’s Owner Manual

PREPARATION TIME: 5 min

COOKING TIME: 50 min

CUISINE: British

SERVES: 3 – 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken  (ours was 1 kg)

2 -3 tsp dried tarragon

1- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 – 2 tsp salt

METHOD:

1.  First, make a rub of equal quantities of dried tarragon, pepper and salt. Make about 2 – 3 tbsp in total. We went for extra super herby – delish!

   NOTE: It is suggested that you make 1 – 2 tbsp of rub per 500 g of meat.

 

2. Next rub the mixture into the chicken.

3. Then, put the chicken into the rotisserie, or onto a baking tray and into the oven.

4. How long you will roast it for depends on the size of your chicken. See below for suggestions.

  ROASTING TIMES: According to Delia, it’s 20 min per lb (450 g),   plus 10 –  20 min extra, at 190 C/Gas mark 5/375 F.

 

5. We did ours in George, so that made it really easy. We just shoved it in, and went off to do sth else. Minimum effort. That’s why we like our George! :D The only thing we did was to collect the juices at some point towards the end, which we used to make gravy!

6. When the chicken is done, take it out of the rotisserie/oven and leave for at least 15 min to stand before carving it. This is absolutely vital. This way, the juices will not evaporate as you cut the chicken, but they will stay inside, so your bird will remain juicy and succulent! While the chicken is roasting, you can make the gravy! See below for details.

Serve with roast potatoes and a few other vegetables (boiled broccoli, peas, carrots, corn, etc). Pour over some gravy. Take a forkful and put it in your mouth. Close your eyes and go mmmmmm! :)

Roast chicken

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Recipe 2

 

Roast Lamb with Rosemary

 

SOURCE: My husband taught me this :)

PREPARATION TIME: 5 min

COOKING TIME: 1 h 15 min min

CUISINE: British

SERVES: 3 – 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 kg lamb shoulder

a few sprigs of rosemary

freshly ground black pepper

salt

METHOD:

1.  Preheat your oven to 190 C. Make incisions in the meat, and put pieces of rosemary in them. 

2. Wrap the lamb in aluminium foil and put on a roasting rack, placed in a roasting tray. This will keep the juices in the foil, and the meat will be lovely and tender.

3. Roast the meat 25 min per lb (454 g), plus 25 extra. In our case, that was 1 h 25 min. 15 minutes before the end of cooking, take out the lamb out of the oven. Carefully peel the foil, and let the juices out. Reserve the juices. You will need them to make gravy. Then, return the lamb to the oven, uncovered, so it browns nicely on the outside. You can whack the temperature up a bit now.

4. When the lamb is done, leave it to rest for 15 min before cutting. Meanwhile, make the gravy! :)

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Gravy

 

SOURCE: A friend

PREPARATION TIME: 1 min

COOKING TIME: 5 min

CUISINE: British

SERVES: 3 – 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

butter

flour

a glug of wine (red for the lamb, and white for the chicken)

meat juices from the roast

(if you don’t have enough juices, add some chicken/lamb/beef stock, too)

METHOD:

1.  Put the same amount of flour and butter together in a pan (make it non-stick, it will make your life easier).  

2. Put it on the hob and stir. The butter will start melting incorporating the flour into it, forming a thick past.

3. Slowly add other liquids, keep stirring!

4. Boil for a few minutes until the flour is cooked (you can’t taste it as much). Reduce to the pouring consistency. Serve warm.

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For more British recipes on this blog, click here.

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Croatian Roast Lamb on the Spit, or the village of Gangentine!

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If you’ve ever been to Croatia and taken ‘the old road’ (i.e. not the motorway) from Zagreb to the Croatian coast, you would  have seen the signs saying ‘Janjetina‘ dotted all the way along the road! As a matter of fact, they’re everywhere! There are so many of them that someone once told me how her English friends once asked her ‘Why is every other village in Croatia called Gangentine?’ This was their pronunciation of ‘janjetina'; pronounced ‘yanietina’ in Croatian, and meaning ‘lamb’ (lamb meat)! We both thought that was hilarious, but I must admit that they kind of did have a point! The signs are everywhere, and sometimes it just says ‘ Janjetina  —> ‘. If you don’t know the Croats’ especially enthusiastic affinity to lamb, it’s easy to get confused! I can forgive you that, but I won’t forgive you if you miss trying this speciality when you go to Croatia! There will be plenty of opportunities, trust me!

Now, ‘Janjetina’ does not mean any old lamb! All these sings mean only one thing: ‘Janjetina s raznja’, or Roast Lamb on the Spit! Warning: pictures to follow! At this point, don’t scroll down any further, if you’re sensitive to animal body parts that look like real animals (though these ones remind me of roast dinosaurs!). We Croats are generally not, and happily eat all the parts of an animal, or in this case, we happily eat the whole animal! This is what ‘Janjetina s raznja’ is – a whole lamb, heavily salted before cooking (though it doesn’t taste too salty when done), roast on a spit for a few hours, basted in its own juices, as it rolls rolls and turns around itself! The result is a melt-in-the-mouth, slightly salty, tender, juicy and meaty sensation in your mouth, contrasted by the crunchy salty skin! Gorgeous!  Here it is! Look at that gorgeous colour!

Janjetina

The intestine and liver are taken out, but kidneys, the brain and sometimes ehm testicles are left inside to roast. Sometimes, the lamb is also stuffed. My granny makes a delicious stuffing, consisting of bread crumbs, lamb’s intestine, the liver, eggs, cheese, prsut (pronounced prshut),  which is the Croatian cousin of the Italian Parma ham, or the Spanish Serrano Ham or jamon, and a few other things (I shall have to ask her the recipe). My mother doesn’t like lamb on the spit or otherwise (!), but she does eat the stuffing! We all suspect that she can’t be a real Dalmatian, though born and bred in Dalmatia, because she doesn’t like neither lamb nor olive oil – shock-horror!

You will notice that I said that my granny makes the stuffing. However, cooking the lamb itself is normally a man’s job. In the past, the men used to turn the lamb by hand. Nowadays, they use an electrical motor, that slowly turns the spit around. Cooking it is a bit of an art. You have to know when it’s done, without being bloody on the inside – because in Dalmatia we like our meat thoroughly cooked! It mustn’t be dry either, so a happy medium has to be achieved. The best parts are the shoulder and the leg (the thigh bit). Some, like my dad, like the ribs, and others, like my brother’s godfather, like – the testicles! The brain is also delicious!

Are you cringing now? Well, don’t! I bet you would love it if you tried it without knowing what it is! Also, if you’re going to kill an animal, isn’t it better to eat the whole thing, rather than throwing some away?

Janjetina s raznja

Dalmatians and all the Croatians alike love their ‘janjetina’! Everybody’s favourite ‘guest’ at parties, it is a special, festive food, not eaten everyday (which is obvious, given the scale of the roasting project)! This dish is not cheap, but it’s worth it!We have it in restaurants or make it for major family celebrations, weddings, christenings, festas (festa is Dalmatian for a feast, or fiesta). It used to be traditional to eat lamb roasts for Easter. For a starter, we normally have a platter of prsut and cheese with gherkins and olives, followed by beef or lamb bouillon, clear soup with small pieces of thin pasta. (As a kid, I used to love the letter-shaped small pasta!) The dessert can be anything. (I’ll write about Croatian desserts another time) The lamb is normally served warm with various salads, spring onions, sometimes pickled gherkins and bread. It is also delicious cold, but I love it hot, straight off the spit. Don’t be shy to pick it up in your hand and eat it like that, sometimes it’s impossible to use only a knife and a fork. Nobody will look at you strangely. Some might smile and nod.

Janjetina s raznja

You see what I mean when I say that the lamb on the spit reminds me of dinosaurs?

Dinosaur, British Museum

You’ll notice that I don’t have photos of the served dish. When it comes to that stage, I tend to forget about my camera! :)

The lamb normally weighs less than 20 kg; our sheep are small in general, especially when compared to say British sheep. Dalmatian lamb, especially the lamb grown on the islands (for example the island of Pag, see picture below), is considered to be the best, because the sheep feed aromatic herbs growing in the karst, and the meat contains natural salt, which has an effect on the taste of the meat.

Herbs growing in the carst

Herbs growing in the karst

The town of Pag, on the island of Pag

And the recipe for the lamb? Erm, I’ll have to ask my dad, who’s an expert! :)

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