Hot, golden, crisp and delicious, a festive roast brings people together, as the focus of the table. Roast pork, beef and lamb are Northern Hemisphere traditions dating back to the Middle Ages when whole animals were cooked on spits above a smouldering fire.
Not many modern kitchens have a rotisserie and fireplace, but the love of a roast is still strong amongst diners. Modern technique and technology allow us to roast meat more efficiently to cater to a crowd expecting a slap-up celebratory feed.
Moroccan spiced roast lamb shoulder
St Albi, Hobart
“We could not handle those big bookings that come in during the festive season without our Moroccan Spiced Roast Lamb Shoulder,” says St Albi head chef Will Muller.
“When 40 people are sitting down at the one time, we simply couldn’t service them with the a la carte menu. Platters laden with the roast lamb feed everyone at the same time and encourage sharing and conversation,” says Will from the popular restaurant housed in an old warehouse in the semi-industrial suburb of Moonah, just outside of Hobart’s CBD.
His recipe is simple. He has his butcher bone out shoulders of prime Tasmanian lamb and strings them into rolls. Will then covers the outside of the boned rolled shoulders with his own blend of Moroccan spices, including paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander seed and cinnamon.
After dinner service, the shoulders are placed in trays in the combi oven and slow cooked overnight at 75°C. The following day the roast shoulder emerges with a beautiful deep orange bark and a rich meaty smell redolent of cinnamon and cumin.
The roasts are rested, sliced and chilled. To serve, the slices are laid out on trays with a little chicken stock and heated at 200°C until hot and crisp.
The lamb is served with a red wine gravy and tzatziki with duck fat potatoes and a salad of rocket, pear and parmesan. “There’s bread in the previous course, and the customers can’t resist sopping up the gravy and juices. It is so delicious.”
Visit St Albi’s website to view their menu and make a booking:
Pork belly pad see ew
sAme sAme, Brisbane
Brisbane Thai-inspired eatery Same Same has a different take on roast pork.
The popular Fortitude Valley restaurant is renowned for its Pork Belly Pad See Ew.
“We have taken this classic Thai dish and put our own different take,” says owner Jason Margaritis.
“We take free-range pork bellies and score them. We then steam them for 45 minutes and most importantly allow them to air dry in the cool room overnight.”
After that, they go into a hot oven for 60 minutes where the skin crackles and the belly meat is so tender and very juicy.
Jason’s chefs use Korean-style rice cakes called tteokbokki that are steamed until soft and then stir-fried in a smoking hot wok with sugar, oyster sauce and chopped choi sum – Asian greens.
“This is then topped with slices of roasted pork belly and finished with fried garlic crumbs and pickled red chili. It is a real winner,” says Jason.
Visit sAme sAme’s website to view their menu and make a booking.
Coffee roasted beef short rib
A Touch of Salt, Townsville
Up in Townsville, overlooking the picturesque Ross Creek, is A Touch of Salt.
In this dining institution, chef Michael Brine wows his guests with slow-roasted beef short rib that Michael jokingly refers to as ‘my pimped-up roast’.
His kitchen team debones the short rib, roasting the bones for stock.
The muscle is brined with maple syrup, smoked paprika and ground coffee overnight.
Drained, dried, they are seared on the grill and then slow roasted in the combi oven for 14-16 hours until the meat is sweet and succulent.
Once done, the pieces of beef are pressed between two sheets of metal, portioned and chilled. “The dish looks simple but there is a lot of technique,” says Michael.
He makes a jus from the bone stock enriched with a little more maple and paprika.
The fat that renders from the meat during roasting is used to roast the Hasselback potatoes until flavoursome and golden.
The beef is heated in a hot oven to order. It is served with a black tahini paste made with black sesame and garlic alongside a carrot and sesame purée and roasted glazed carrots.
“It is a rich dish that looks deceptively simple but packs a punch flavourwise,” says Michael.
“At this time of the year, it makes a great festive dish that is actually easy to prep and just as easy during service,” says Michael.
“It’s great for guests and just as good for the kitchen.”
Visit A Touch Of Salt’s website to view their menu and make a booking.
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