Cooking Experiences

Tesco 60-Minute Roast Challenge: Our Attempt!

When Tesco offered to send us a hamper containing some helpful roast dinner bits and bobs and some vouchers to create a roast dinner – with the time constraint of one hour – we were delighted to accept the challenge and to see what we could create!

The first challenge for us was to work out the menu! Sure, the idea of cooking a roast is an exciting one, but we wanted to prove that a family roast can be achieved in 60 minutes whilst juggling a three month old baby.

First of all, we had to work out what meat to go for. We decided that in the one hour time frame, we would hopefully be able to do some real justice to a lovely lamb rack. We’re big fans of lamb and the chance to turn a lamb rack into the hero of a roast dinner was an exciting prospect.

As well as this, we decided we wanted to make it all a little bit more ‘Yorkshire’, so we decided to make some Yorkshire puddings, before throwing roast potatoes, mashed potato, purple sprouting broccoli, lamb gravy and some stuffing into the mix!

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For those of you who enjoy a Sunday Roast this might sound a little bit familiar for you but this was no Sunday Roast with as much time as you need to get it right; this was a one hour challenge that needed to be completed after I got home from work! With this in mind, it was amazing to see on our shop around Tesco how much can be bought to make a roast a bit more achievable in this time constraint. For instance, we opted for some concentrated lamb gravy as well as pre-made stuffing mix in order to help us stay on track!

It is also worth mentioning that the lamb looked divine and came pre-scored meaning that we didn’t have to trim it or mess about with getting it ready for crisping the fat up.

When I got home from work, I put the oven on to pre-heat (I didn’t include this in the time as I did no prep work!) and then started the real prep. The emphasis initially was on getting the lamb ready so it could be in the oven and then have time to rest at the end (we decided that the lamb would need 45 minutes in total and then at least 5 minutes to rest so the time pressure was really on here!).

My other concern was the roasties! As a self proclaimed foodie, I wanted to make the roasties achievable in an hour and also wanted to attempt to cut down on food waste – no mean feat! I decided that the best way to do this was to use a melon ball scoop to get the potatoes into small, equal sized spheres.

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Charlotte was in charge of the meat and she made sure that the lamb was beautifully sealed and that it was perfectly ready for the oven. Before putting it in the frying pan, she had covered it in olive oil and given it a garlic and rosemary rub. After this was applied, the lamb rack only took about three minutes to be sealed and to get the fat looking good.

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I was keeping up the waste not, want not aim by cutting up the previously melon balled potatoes, getting them into equal chunks in order to get them ready to be boiled for mashing! It was for this versatility that we had chosen Maris Piper potatoes; not only do they roast wonderfully but they also work well mashed, sautéed and even boiled!

I chose to put my melon balled potatoes into the same frying pan as the lamb had been fried in as the residual fat and flavour would help to create some real extra taste and the quick sautee would also help to ensure that the roasties crisped up nicely in the long run. This extra step only took two minutes but I think this was a really good way to inject more flavour into the potatoes. Once this was done, we had the lamb and the roasties in the oven (just in time!).

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With everything on schedule, Charlotte’s mum kindly helped me get the stuffing balls ready! This was the longest cooking process other than the roasties and the lamb as it took 25 minutes to get from oven to table. Once the potatoes were ready for mashing, I cracked on with this and then moved onto getting the Yorkshire Pudding ready. We can’t abide shop bought Yorkshire Pud so we were making them from scratch!

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As the Yorkshire mix only takes a few seconds to put together, the only real time thieving part of this dish was weighing out the mixture and then getting them cooked, which you need to do at the last minute! At this point we had about 20 minutes left, so time was going to be tight to get everything done within the hour!

At this point of the cook, the Yorkshire Pudding and stuffing were in the oven, and it was the ‘quiet’ part of the cook as we mixed up the gravy, steamed the broccoli and started to get the table ready!

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With five minutes left, the lamb was taken out of the oven and left to rest while the previously mashed potatoes were given a quick blast in the microwave to make sure they came to the table piping hot!

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While everything did come together nicely, we had mis-timed slightly and ended up going 10 minutes over (damn that stuffing and the Yorkshires!) but 1 hour 10 minutes was certainly not bad for such an epic dinner.

Of course, it’s always about the taste and the whole dish was wonderful, in particular the divine lamb. All in all, with a little bit of cheating with the gravy and the stuffing, we had put up one mean roast that tasted fantastic and we think looked pretty good – though you can judge by the picture below!

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Tesco is helping the great British public to make the most of family time at home with recipes and tips for creating the perfect Sunday roast. For more tasty Sunday roast recipes and top tips visit realfood.tesco.com.

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