Recipe: The Hairy Bikers' perfect Sunday roast

Posted on 7th September 2015 by Jonathan O'Brien & The Hairy Bikers
From their new book, Meat Feasts, The Hairy Bikers present their slow-roast pork with root vegetables

Everyone loves a Sunday roast, with gravy, lots of veg and all the trimming, and we’ve proved it once and for all. The roast dinner was voted the nation’s favourite meal in a poll conducted for a television show we did recently. It’s a meal we remember fondly from childhood and something we will always continue to cook.


‘We always had a Sunday roast, never failed, and it was the meal of the week that the whole family gathered to enjoy. If we’d had beef on a Sunday my mum would do a leek and onion suet pud on the Monday. She’d put it in a clootie bag, steam it for hours and serve it up with the leftover gravy and beef. Nothing better. Later on, when my brother and sister and I were living away from home, we still went back on Sundays because no one makes a roast dinner like your mum. Now we do the same for our kids, but I’m not sure my roast dinners will ever be as good as my mum’s’


‘In my family there was always a roast on Sundays. It was chicken, lamb, beef and pork in rotation, never changed. There were just the three of us – me and my mum and dad – so we had a small joint and it did for three meals:  Sunday dinner, then with bubble and squeak on Monday and perhaps a broth on Tuesday. Nothing was ever wasted. We always had the right accompaniments, such as mint sauce with lamb, apples with park and so on – and by golly it was good. I can still remember the anticipation I felt, hearing Two-Way Family Favourites on the radio and smelling the meat roasting’.


British pork is a national treasure and we think we breed some of the best pigs in the world in this country. Pork shoulder is ideal for slow-roasting, as the fat content keeps the meat moist. We cook it until the meat is falling off the bone – no need to carve this joint!

One of the nicest of all Sunday dinners.



2kg pork shoulder (bone in), with scored skin

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 red onions, cut into wedges

3 carrots, cut in half lengthways

3 parsnips, cut into thick batons

2 celery sticks, cut into lengths

½ head of garlic, cloves left unpeeled

a few sprigs of thyme

1 tbsp plain flour

200ml white wine or vermouth

400ml chicken stock

flaked sea salt

freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Rub the pork with the vegetable oil and sprinkle it with salt. Place it in a large roasting tin and roast in the preheated oven for half an hour. Turn the oven down to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 3, cover the tin and the pork with foil, then roast for another 4½ hours.

Take the tin out of the oven and set the pork aside on a board. Drain off most of the fat in the bottom of the roasting tin, leaving about 2–3 tablespoons. Add all the vegetables, then stir to coat them with the juices in the pan. Make sure the celery and onion are placed quite centrally as these are best cooked under the pork. Tuck in the garlic and thyme, then put the pork back on top. Put the pork back in the oven for another hour, this time uncovered. By this time the vegetables should be lovely and tender.

Take the tin out of the oven and transfer the pork and the vegetables to serving platters. Cover the pork with foil and leave it to rest. Keep the vegetables warm.

Put the roasting tin over a low heat. Sprinkle over the flour, then stir well to scrape up any caramelised bits on the bottom of the tin. Pour in the white wine or vermouth, stirring continuously, and allow it to reduce, then add the chicken stock. Simmer until you have a fairly thin but rich gravy, then taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Pour the gravy into a warm jug and serve it with the pork and vegetables.

Photographs taken by Andrew Hayes-Watkins


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