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Flavours for Mini Roasts

Flavours for Beef and Lamb Mini Roasts
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Denise Spencer

Mini roasting joints are labour-saving gems for busy people who want a good roast mid-week. They take between 35-50 minutes to cook (depending on if you opt for a beef or lamb joint).

What’s your flavour?

Mini joints suck up flavour and are very forgiving when it comes to what will marry with them.  Today as a nation we are spoilt for choice with the store cupboard ingredients and fresh produce available to us.  For people with busy lives there are a variety of flavoured dry rubs, glazes and pastes that are ready-prepared for use and will deliver great flavour.  Preparation is just as easy too; simply roll or brush the joint with your ready-to-use ingredient then pop in the oven.

What works best with mini roasting joints?

It really depends how adventurous you are with your flavours and how far you are prepared to push the limits. Some prefer delicate flavours to complement the meatiness of the beef or lamb joints; others prefer to max out on the intensity of ingredients and heat!  A few pointers for flavour matching are below…feel free to use any combination that works best for your palate.

  • Dried porcini mushrooms – these are great store cupboard standbys as they have an intense umami flavour and will bring out the best in beef. Simply whizz into a paste with garlic (freshly chopped or puréed) and a little oil to a paste then spread over your mini roast before cooking.  You’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Ginger stem ginger, finely chopped or ginger conserve is great brushed over a seasoned mini beef roasting joint 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
  • Herb butters – I swear by these as they are so easy to make and add a lovely flavour.  I like using fresh herbs for my butters, but dried herbs work just as well. They don’t take long to prepare but if you make them up in advance and keep them in the fridge or freezer and you can just use what you need (it’s great on steaks, or stirred through vegetables and pasta too).
  • Other flavoured butters- Be a little more adventurous with these as the combinations are never ending.  To unsalted butter try additions like blue or Parmesan cheese, curry paste, black olive tapenade, dried chillies, wholegrain mustard and sweet chilli sauce to name but a few ingredients.
  • Glazes- These are great brushed over your mini roasting joint towards the end of the cooking time.  They add a nice sheen and burst of flavour.  Glazes include a variety of marmalades, conserves and jellies, sweet chilli sauce and ready prepared barbecue glazes.

For more intense flavours for your mini roasting joint the secret is to marinate. I know it may add some extra time in the preparation of your roast, but if you are prepared to go all the way you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s what to do

On a chopping board make several slashes all over the joint.  This way your marinade mixture will penetrate through the joint and season with salt and pepper. Now here’s where the fun starts!

You can marinate with a plethora of ingredients of your choice. They can be a mix of fresh/dried herbs, garlic (fresh or puréed), vinegar (balsamic, white wine - sherry or malt), chopped onions, grated zest of citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime), freshly chopped or dried chilli flakes, Wine (red, white or Japanese rice wine known as Mirin), or sherry, soy sauce or oil (sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed, olive - not extra virgin!)

Marinate in a double-lined plastic food bag in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (or overnight, if you can bear to wait that long!). Remove from the marinade and cook as required.

Plenty of ideas to try with your mini roasting joints – Why wait till Sunday?

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