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Your guide to healthier roasts

Once you have been shopping for meat, its time to get cooking. There’s no need to sacrifice flavour for a healthier roast. Here’s how.

Five steps to a perfect roast

  1. Flavour your meat by basting frequently with pan juices when cooking.
  2. Rest the meat after roasting and before carving. Cover loosely with tinfoil to keep it warm and leave it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Resting allows the meat juices to make their way back through the cooked fibres resulting in an evenly-cooked and juicy roast.
  3. Don’t use a fork to hold the roast while carving. A fork will allow meat juices to run, resulting in an uneven colour of sliced meat portions.
  4. Always cut meat across the grain, ie. the direction which the muscle fibres align. If you cut with your knife parallel to the grain, you end up with long muscle fibres that are tough for your teeth to break through.
  5. Making your own stock to use in gravy is easy and economical. If buying stock is your only option, choose a no-added-salt stock (beef, chicken) or a reduced-salt vegetable stock.

Skip the salt

There are many ways to flavour your meat without reaching for the salt shaker. Minimise your salt intake and try some of these healthy and tasty alternatives.

Good flavour combinations:

  • dried or fresh rosemary, mint and garlic
  • basil and semi-dried tomatoes
  • thyme, oregano, lemon zest and garlic
  • garlic, lemon juice,
  • oregano, paprika and Greek-style yoghurt
  • minced garlic, ginger and mustard
  • shredded fresh mint and low-fat plain yoghurt
  • dukkah and lemon juice
  • ground sumac and garlic

For lamb leg or shoulder, try slow roasting. Place lamb leg in roasting dish, add equal quantities of wine and stock, cover with tinfoil and cook at 150°C for 5-7 hours, until meat is falling off the bone.

Cut the grease

Rub oil on the meat, not the pan.

  • Use an oil spray (or 1 tablespoon olive oil) to spray (or rub) over the meat (or paint on with a pastry brush) before cooking.
  • Oiling the meat instead of the pan more evenly distributes the oil over the meat meaning you can use less. It will stop the meat from sticking and the oil won’t burn in the pan.
  • Use a roasting rack so that extra fat drains off the meat.
  • Roast vegetables in a separate pan so they don’t sit in the meat fat.

When is my roast ready?

Judge if your roast is ready by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature for:

  • Rare: 45-50°C
  • Medium-rare: 55-60°C
  • Medium: 60-65°C
  • Well-done: 70-75°C.

You can also use tongs to test whether the roast is done. Gently prod or squeeze the roast:

  • Rare: Very soft
  • Medium-rare: Soft
  • Medium: Springy but soft
  • Medium-well: Firm
  • Well-done: Very firm

Recipe ideas

Lamb mini roast with oregano, garlic and lemon

Step by step reduced-fat roast chicken dinner

Traditional roast beef and vegetables

Roasted pork with warm kimchi and kale salad



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