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The festive roast

With the festive season fast approaching, customers are going to be looking to relax and celebrate. For many, this means the classic roast dinner and this year, more than ever, people will want to be reminded of lasting traditions. They are also going to be looking for value and quality. We drilled down on what to expect this season with Bidfood meat expert, Ross Thomson.

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Written by Richard Cornish
15 December 2020
Food writer and author, senior contributor of Bidfood's appetiser. magazine

“For me, festive season celebrations have always centred around the roast,” says Ross. “My grandmother was Scottish and she took immense pride in her turkey, especially the gravy,” he says. “It was that beautiful warm embracing aroma of roasting meat that raised our excitement. That smell, the golden skin on roast meat. The sight of all the trimmings. All these things make the meal into an event. That is something that diners expect when they go for a seasonal lunch.”

Ross says all that traditional turkey flavour and aroma can be found in a Farmyard Turkey Breast (142629). It is made from Australian turkey that has been boned, rolled and netted. It has been pre-brined to ensure that when served, it remains tender and juicy, even when cooked all the way through. “It cooks perfectly without the waste of dry drumsticks or overcooked breast, which can happen with a whole turkey,” adds Ross. Once cooked, it slices easily, allowing for perfect portion control. “I would serve it with a good roasted stuffing - perhaps apple, cranberry and sage mixed through day-old sourdough crumbs,” suggests Ross. “And make sure you pour the pan juices over the stuffing for extra flavour.”

Feeding a crowd quickly could be on the cards in some regions this year. With limits to the number of diners allowed in venues in some parts of the country, Ross says that flexibility in the kitchen is something to keep in mind. “Having a product like a sous-vide pork carvery means you have a great tasting, super tender, pre-cooked product with great shelf life sitting ready to go,” he says. Naturalaz Pork Carvery (130081) only requires an hour in the oven to caramelise the outside, heat through and have perfect, golden, crunchy crackling. Ross says the secret is to score and salt the skin and allow it to dry out in the fridge 24 hours before
roasting. “Made from 100% Australian pork leg, it has been boned for ease of carving and portion control. For a time-poor chef, this frees up oven space and allows more time to prepare the extras like apple sauce and the perfect gravy.”

For a touch of the real old-fashioned festive dinner, Ross reckons lamb hits the spot for many. “A lot of people grew up on lamb,” he reminds us. Emerald Valley Lamb Leg (138118) is the real deal. Grass-fed and boned for convenience, it roasts perfectly, carves easily and looks great on the plate. Ross says that the size of the lamb leg is perfect, especially when oven space is limited. “Served with minted peas and honey carrots, it is a great alternative to offer,” he says. “The smell of roasting lamb also brings back so many memories.” 

Ross says that some customers will be wanting something a little special this year and having the option of grass-fed beef tenderloin could be a good offer. Also known as eye fillet, Emerald Valley Beef Tenderloin (128027) is a delicious, tender cut that looks elegant on the plate and is perfect when an alternate drop is required. “With a lovely rich red wine jus, some triple cooked chips  ‘Heston style’ and some fresh herbs, it is a great dish to offer, especially when you are 
pouring some good reds,” Ross says, adding, “Oh, and don’t forget the pudding.”

Find the recipe for beef tenderloin with red wine jus and Heston style triple cooked hand cut chips here