What could be more welcoming and delicious than serving a grand holiday roast? the chef asks. And the best thing is that they are simple to prepare and have the added benefit of cooking while you visit with guests or prepare the rest of your meal, he adds.
Chef Chris Macchia shares the universal techniques for successful roasting and gives you some of his favorite Italian ways of adding flavor to any type of roast you want to serve. Some of the chef's favorite cuts of meat for roasting are: boneless beef strip loin, pork rack or pork loin, leg of lamb, and venison loin or saddle.
The basic equipment the chef recommends having on hand is:
- Heavy bottomed roasting pan large enough to hold the roast
- Metal rack to lift the roast off the bottom of the pan
- Butcher string for tying the roast (a roast is tied so it cooks evenly)
- Instant-read meat thermometer
The three most important steps to successful roasts are searing, roasting and resting.
Searing the outside of a roast adds a deep flavor, but more important it locks in the juices and flavor. A roast should be at room temperature before searing.
There are two ways to sear a roast:
Stove top: Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat with a little olive oil. Lower the roast in to the pan and sear on all sides until golden brown. Then put the roast on the metal rack and place in a 325 degrees oven.
Oven (use for very large cuts of meat): Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the roast on the metal rack inside of the roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes and then lower the temperature to 325 degrees to finish roasting.
Roasting (all times and temperatures are based cooked to medium) Roasts should be cooked low and slow in a 325 to 350 degrees oven. Roasting times vary between cuts of meat and how well done you want them. Roasts are normally tender cuts of meat and don't need to be over cooked. Typically beef roasts for 15 minutes per pound, pork for 20 per pound and lamb for 15 per pound.
Always use a meat thermometer pushed into the center of the roast to check internal temperatures. For a beef roast the center should be 140 degrees, for a pork roast 160 degrees, and for a lamb roast 140 degrees.
"Resting" is letting the roast sit outside of the oven for at least 15 minutes to complete the cooking process. This is important because it further tenderizes the meat while the juices settle. The roast should be covered with aluminum foil and it can be turned once to distribute the juices. Always keep the roast in a pan to collect the drippings. Drippings can used to make wonderful gravy or sauces.
Visit Chef Chris at
Coco Pazzo Restaurant
300 West Hubbard
Chicago, IL 60654