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12 Roast Side Dishes

Roasted Garlic Sweet Potatoes
Serve with Lamb Loin Roast

Broccoli Stir Fried Rice
Serve with Pork Tenderloin Roast

Sicilian New Potatoes
Serve with Tri Tip Roast

Scalloped Potatoes
Serve with Beef Rib Roast

Pomme Puree (Mashed Potatoes) with Parmesan Cheese
Serve with Beef Top Round Roast

Grilled Asparagus
Serve with Crown Roast of Pork

Green Beans Almondine
Serve with Beef Sirloin Roast

French Fries (Pomme Frites)
Serve with Boneless Rib Roast

Creamy Orzo
Serve with Leg of Lamb

Cheesy Corn Pudding
Serve with Pork Sirloin Roast

Candied Brussels Sprout
Serve with Beef Tenderloin Roast

Apple Stuffing for Pork
Serve with Boneless Pork Loin Roast

Roasts and Roasting


Chef James Clary
Director of Culinary

Have a question?
Click to email him

Many of you have asked me, "What is a roast?" which invariably leads to the next question, "How do I cook a roast?" A roast is very simply a large, tender cut of meat. They are usually cooked in the oven although some people prefer to cook them outside on a grill over charcoal or wood. Either way works fine as long as you can control the temperature on the grill. The 12 Roasts of Christmas will all do well using the cooking methods described in detail below. Lesser grades and lesser cuts will benefit more from a wet cooking method, known as braising.

The two OLD schools of thought on roasting were: cook the meat from start to finish at a consistent medium temperature, which reduces shrinking and sputtering and produces a juicy, evenly-cooked roast; or put it in a very hot oven to start, and then lower the temperature for the remainder of the cooking time, which helps brown the roast and its juices. However, I prefer a newer method which I will outline below.

Place your roast on a lightly oiled broiler pan or a cookie sheet. The broiler pan is preferable in my opinion as it allows you to catch the dripping juices in the lower pan which you will want to use to make a sauce (more on that later). Cooking on a broiler pan also keeps the roast from steaming in its own juices and keeps the heat circulates freely. If there is a layer of fat on the meat, keep that on top. Rub the roast evenly with some olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. You may also want to rub a crushed garlic clove all over the meat. This gives the roast a slight garlic scent, but is not over powering.

Current scientific research suggests that the best way to cook a roast is to cook at a lower, consistent temperature. 275°F is ideal. Then after your meat reaches the proper temperature (degree of doneness) remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Resting allows the juices to be drawn back into the meat. If you do not let the meat rest, it will be dry regardless of how perfectly you cooked it!

While the roast is resting, turn your oven to the highest setting, usually 500°F. After the resting period is over, place the roast into the very hot oven and allow it to get brown on the outside. This final step usually only takes 10 minutes.

Always should let the roast warm up to room temperature for an hour or two. You may want to season it with salt and pepper and/or rub it with a garlic clove. Various cuts of meat take different amounts of time to cook. In an ideal world, everyone would have a thermometer — either an instant-read thermometer or a meat thermometer that stays in the roast the whole time it's cooking. Then you would know that the roast is done when the temperature in the center of the roast reaches 120°F to 125°F, (49°C to 52°C) for rare, 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C) for medium rare, 145°F to 150°F (63°C to 66°C) for medium, and 155°F to 165°F (68°C to 74°C) for well done (Note: 120°F is a pretty rare roast).

I do not recommend cooking and serving a roast at anything below 135°F. Cooking to at least 135°F allows the internal marbling (thin layers of fat inside the meat) to begin melting, making your roast tender, flavorful, and juicy. Below that temperature, the marbling stays solid and you do not get the benefit of the internal basting effect created at higher temperatures. Having said this, I DO NOT recommend cooking roast above 145°F. Anything above that and the roast will begin to dry out as the higher temperatures cause the juices to evaporate. Yes, this includes pork roasts! According to the new guidelines published by the USDA, pork can be safely served at 145°F. I prefer beef and lamb at 135°F to 140°F and cook my pork roasts to 145°F.

If you do not have a digital cooking thermometer, don't despair! There is a method for checking the doneness of a roast that I was taught 30 years ago in one of the first restaurant jobs I had. When the roast is ¾ done with the recommended cooking time, insert a metal skewer into the very center (coldest part) of the roast. Pull the skewer out and feel the part that was in the middle with your fingers or place to your lip which is the most sensitive part of your body. I always check with my fingers first so I don't get burned if the roast is well done! Here is the "feel" you are looking for:

  • If the skewer feels cold, cool, or you feel nothing; that tells you the roast is at or below body temperature (98.6°F) and needs more cooking time.
  • If it feels slightly warm, you are at "rare".
  • Warmer still, but not uncomfortable, you are at medium rare. At this point, you really need to check every 15 minutes or so since optimum temperature is approaching quickly!
  • Feels VERY warm, almost hot you are at medium well. Do not cook any longer!

So the ideal cooking point using the skewer method is when the skewer feels very warm, but does not burn your lip.

You do not need to let the roast rest again after the final "searing" in the hot oven because you didn't let it cook long enough to affect the internal juices. You are now ready to carve the meat and serve it. Don't forget to make the "pan gravy". That's the best part! See my recipe for White or Red Wine Pan Gravy for the perfect sauce for your roast.

Seasoning Variations

There are many other types of seasonings you can put on the outside of your roast before cooking that will enhance the flavor of the meat. Price Cutter sells a wide variety of meat seasonings and dry rubs, any of which might be good with your particular roast. Here are a few alternate seasoning ideas;

  • Store bought mix like Daddy Henkel's or Montreal Seasoning. Rub outside of roast generously with any high quality, prepared spice rub. Cook normally.
  • Fresh herbs-nothing enhances the flavor of meat like fresh herbs. I like the usual suspects like rosemary, sage, and thyme but don't be afraid to try something different like lavender or tarragon. I have even used green tea to flavor a roast!
  • Wine and mustard-acidity or "tanginess" can add a lot of flavor to a roast. Mix some spicy mustard with a little white or red wine and slather all over the outside of your roast then cook normally. Not only will the meat taste better, but the drippings will get some of the mustard and wine flavor as well, making your gravy the rival of your family!
  • Black pepper-coarse ground, black pepper is an excellent addition to any roast.
  • All of the above. That's right! Mix a little store bought seasoning with herbs, mustard, wine, and black pepper. Rub all over the meat. The result will astound you!

Of course if you have any questions or need help in any fashion with your Christmas (or any other) meal, the culinary team and myself personally are here to help you at Price Cutter.

Have a question about your roast? Email me and my staff at askourchef@pyramidfoods.net with your comments or questions. We will respond within 24 hours.

Merry Christmas and Happy Roasting!


Chef Clary's Wine Pan Gravy

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Take the roasted meat from the roasting dish and set the meat aside to rest.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock (for a beef roast) or chicken stock (for a pork or lamb roast) - you can make your stock from cubes, powder, or the "paste" variety which is my preference (Better Than Bouillon brand) or you can use liquid stock.
  • 2 cups white or red wine. I like white with chicken, pork, and veal, and red with beef and lamb.
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt

INSTRUCTIONS

    IF you used a broiler pan, remove the top grate from the pan and scrape as much of the fond (brown bits sticking to the grate) from the grate into the bottom pan.

    Drain away a little of the fat from the bottom pan if it seems excessive (you'll need about one tablespoon of fat). You will be left with a little fat and the brown residue from the roast meat.

    Place the roasting dish on the cooktop, over a medium heat. Bring the pan juices to the boil. Add the flour and stir until the flour is well combined.

    Reduce the heat a little and cook, stirring often until the flour mixture is well browned. Take care that the mixture does not burn.

    Take the roasting dish from the heat and slowly pour in the stock and wine, stirring constantly until well combined. Return the roasting dish to the heat, bring mixture to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. While sauce is simmering, use a spoon to scrape up and of the brown bits from the roast that are sticking to the bottom and sides of pan. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with pepper and salt.

You can "jazz up" your gravy by adding onion, garlic, or fresh herbs. If you like creamy gravy, add a couple tablespoons of heavy cream along with the wine and stock.


Roasted Garlic Sweet Potatoes (Serve with Lamb Loin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bulb garlic to roast
  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    Cut the very end from garlic bulb (about ¼ inch) then place garlic bulb still in peel, in oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until it feels soft. Remove from oven to cool.

    Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Place potatoes in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir in butter, coating well to prevent discoloration. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes, until fork tender.

    In a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, melt remaining butter. Add sage. When potatoes are tender, pour butter mixture and 1 cup Parmesan cheese over potatoes. Squeeze garlic from the bulb and mash or chop roasted garlic and add to potato mixture. Stir.

    Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover dish, then bake sweet potatoes another 20 minutes. Remove from oven then sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

WINE PAIRING

    Bodega Elena Malbec


Broccoli Stir Fried Rice (Serve with Pork Tenderloin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS FOR RICE

  • One, 12 oz. package long grain rice
  • 4 qts. water

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 peanut oil (preferred) or canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 2 cups white onions cut to ¼ inch dice
  • 1 ½ cup frozen or fresh broccoli florets
  • 3 eggs, beaten with wire whisk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

    Cook the rice. Heat the water over high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently until rice is tender. Pour through a colander and rinse with cold water to cool and to remove any starches remaining on rice.

    Next, start by measuring your ingredients so that they are ready to go. Once you begin stir-frying, it goes very quickly.

    In a wok or large non-stick skillet, heat oil over high heat until almost smoking. Put garlic clove in oil for 10 seconds to lightly flavor oil, then remove garlic clove and discard.

    Add the onion and brocolli to oil, tossing or stirring constantly and cook for 30 seconds to one minute. Add rice to pan, tossing or stirring constantly and cook for one minute. Make a well (hole) in the center of the rice and pour remaining tablespoon of oil into bottom of well. Pour beaten eggs into hole, and stir with rubber spatula or non-stick utensil until eggs are almost cooked, but still moist. Toss egg into rice. Add the salt and pepper and cook about 1 minute more.

    Stir in soy sauce and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

WINE PAIRING

    Bonterra Chardonnay


Sicilian New Potatoes (Serve with Tri Tip Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. new potatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium purple onion
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea or Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

    Wash and quarter new potatoes, placing them in cold water as you cut them to keep them from turning brown. Cut peppers in half, remove stem, and de-rib. Slice peppers into very thin strips (julienne). Cut ends from onion and cut in half vertically. Slice onion into thin pieces and break apart so that the onion is in half moon shapes.

    Drain potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl with peppers, onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

WINE PAIRING

    Ravenswood Zinfandel


Scalloped Potatoes (Serve with Beef Rib Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (2 ½ to 3 pounds)
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ pound high-quality melting cheese, such as Gruyere, grated (2 ½ cups)

INSTRUCTIONS

    Heat a medium skillet over low heat, and then add 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and saute, still over low heat, until it is completely softened to translucent, but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an oval 12-cup baking dish.

    In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until frothy with a wire whip. Whisk in milk and cream, then pour mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout. Coat the bottom of the dish with a little of the cream mixture. Cover the bottom of the dish with one third of the potatoes, slightly overlapping each slice. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and half of the nutmeg. Layer over half of the onions and one third of the cheese and the cream mixture. Repeat. Top with the remaining potatoes and the remaining cheese and cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

    Dot with pieces of the remaining butter. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the top is brown, the cream is bubbling, and the potatoes are tender when tested with a thin knife. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

WINE PAIRING

    Gnarly Cabernet Sauvignon


Pomme Puree (Mashed Potatoes) with Parmesan Cheese
(Serve with Beef Top Round Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lb. medium Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper mix
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese (good quality)

INSTRUCTIONS

    Cut potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender, then drain.

    Return the potatoes to the heat to dry off a little, then press through a ricer (food mill) into a mixing bowl. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Beat this cream into the potatoes then gradually mix in the butter.

    Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese to potatoes, and beat for another minute to fully incorporate Parmesan.

WINE PAIRING

    Mirassou Pinot Noir


Grilled Asparagus (Serve with Crown Roast of Pork)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bundles fresh asparagus
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

    Cut the last two inches or woody part of the asparagus from the bottom of each stalk. Toss asparagus with the olive oil and some salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly coated with the oil.

    Grill asparagus over a hot fire or on high setting on an indoor grill for about one minute. Turn and grill on other side for another minutes.

    You can also roast in a hot oven for about four minutes or sear in ahot pan for two to three minutes.

    Remove and serve.

WINE PAIRING

    Starborough Sauvignon Blanc


Green Beans Almondine (Serve with Beef Sirloin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

    In a large saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. While water is heating, get a large bowl filled with ice water. Remove any stems from the beans. When water begins to boil, drop beans in water all at once. Make sure beans are not crowded and have plenty of room. If necessary, use a bigger pan and more water. This is VERY important as the beans release a gas that will make them turn yellow if they are crowded in the pan.

    Cook beans for 3 to 5 minutes until they just begin to get tender. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge into the ice water. This is called "shocking" and will set the color of the beans, keeping them bright green. After beans are completely cooled, drain well, removing any ice cubes.

    Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan, then butter. When butter is melted, add almonds and stir constantly until nuts begin to brown. Add beans to pan, season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook until beans reach desired tenderness. Add lemon juice, toss, and cook for another minutes. Serve immediately.

WINE PAIRING

    Beringer Founders Cabernet


French Fries (Pomme Frites) (Serve with Boneless Rib Roast)

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For a proper result, cooking the fries is a two step process. The fries are first cooked at a lower temperature for a short period of time (called blanching), then later finished at a higher temperature. The two step process ensures that the fries are crispy on the outside and soft and creamy in the center.

INGREDIENTS

  • Russet potatoes

INSTRUCTIONS

    Set deep fryer to 325°F. Wash potatoes thoroughly in cold water. Rinse then drain well.

    Peel if desired then cut potatoes into ¼ inch rectangles. As you cut them, place in a container partially filled with cold water. The potatoes must remain submerged in water until ready to cook or they will turn brown! Potatoes can be cut and stored, submerged in cold water, for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Drain potatoes thoroughly, removing any excess water. When oil reaches 325°F, fill your fry basket no more than ¾ full of the drained fries and submerge in the oil. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Fries should just be staring to brown and should be floppy. Remove from oil, drain, and cool to room temperature.

    Increase the temperature of the oil to 375°F. When you are ready to serve the fries, place about ½ basket of the blanched fries in fryer and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Fries should be golden brown and very crisp. Remove and drain well. Place fries in a warm, large, metal bowl. Sprinkle seasoning mix (below recipe) over fries and toss to coat evenly. Use about ¼ teaspoon of seasoning mix for each serving of fries. Don't over season, fries should have a light salty flavor.

    Seasoning for Fries

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 cup Lowery's seasoning salt
    • ¼ cup onion powder
    • ¼ cup granulated garlic
    • 1 teaspoon white pepper
    • 2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ cup fine sea salt

    INSTRUCTIONS

      Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Store in an airtight container.

    Roasted Garlic Aioli

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 large head garlic
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cups mayonnaise
    • Juice of ½ lemon, seeds removed
    • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper

    INSTRUCTIONS

      To roast the garlic; preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut a thin slice off the very top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of all the cloves. Set the garlic head in a shallow baking dish. Pour the oil slowly over and into the head. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and tender. Squeeze garlic from bulb into a small mixing bowl or into a food processor. Mash or process garlic until smooth. Add mayonnaise, lemon, salt, and pepper to garlic and mix well.

WINE PAIRING

    Smoking Loon Pinot Noir


Creamy Orzo (Serve with Leg of Lamb)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¼ fresh basil chiffonade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

    Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve.

WINE PAIRING

    Blackstone Pinot Noir


Cheesy Corn Pudding (Serve with Pork Sirloin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1, (14 ¾-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar

INSTRUCTIONS

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased hotel pan, 2 inches deep. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

WINE PAIRING

    Sterling Merlot


Candied Brussels Sprout (Serve with Beef Tenderloin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • ½ cup apple juice mixed with one cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup almond liqueur or ½ cup Amaretto
  • 1 pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup almonds, crushed and toasted
  • Sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

    Steam Brussels sprouts in juice mixture till tender-crisp about 5 minutes. Remove brussels sprouts leaving the juice in the pot. Add honey, Amaretto, and pepper flakes, bring to a boil over high heat and reduce by half. Whisk in butter and cornstarch slurry. Toss in nuts. Toss the cooked Brussels sprouts in the candied nut mixture. Season with salt.

WINE PAIRING

    Redrock Merlot


Apple Stuffing for Pork (Serve with Boneless Pork Loin Roast)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 slices firm white sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch squares
  • ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery including some leaves
  • 1 ½ lb tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage or ¼ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Chicken broth
  • 2 eggs, well beaten

INSTRUCTIONS

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bread cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in oven until completely dry, crisp, and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. While bread is toasting, get a medium skillet hot over medium high heat. Add butter to pan and sauté onions and celery for about three minutes. Add apples and sugar to pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add bread cubes to bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and toss or stir until ingredients are mixed well.

    Beginning adding chicken broth, ¼ cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Keep adding broth until bread just begins to bind. Add the eggs, and mix well. Pour into a well buttered 8 X 8 Pyrex or similar pan and bake in oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until dressing is lightly browned on top and hot throughout.

WINE PAIRING

    Rosemount Shiraz