In medieval times, the village serfs served the squire for six days a week. Sundays however were a day of rest, and after the morning church service, serfs would assemble in a field and practice their battle techniques. They were rewarded with mugs of ale and a feast of oxen roasted on a spit. The tradition has survived because the meat can be put in the oven to roast before the family goes to church and be ready to eat when they return.
Typical meats used for a Sunday roast are beef, chicken, lamb or pork, although seasonally duck, goose, gammon, turkey or (rarely) other game birds may be used. Recently, vegetarian alternatives such as Quorn or nut roast have also become available. Common traditional accompaniments to each meat include:
- Roast beef — served with Yorkshire pudding; and English mustard, or horseradish sauce as accompaniments.
- Roast pork — served with crackling and sage and onion stuffing; apple sauce and English mustard as accompaniments.
- Roast lamb — mint sauce or redcurrant jelly as an accompaniment.
- Roast chicken — served with pigs in blankets, sausages and stuffing, bread sauce, or redcurrant jelly.
Sunday roasts can be served with a range of boiled and roasted vegetables. The vegetables served vary seasonally and regionally, but will usually include roast potatoes, roasted in meat dripping or vegetable oil, and also gravy made from juices released by the roasting meat.
Other vegetable dishes served with roast dinner can include mashed Swede or turnip, roast parsnip, boiled or steamed cabbage, broccoli, green beans and boiled carrots and peas. Left-over food from the Sunday roast has traditionally formed the basis of meals served on other days of the week. For example, meats might be used as sandwich fillings, lamb might be used in the filling for a shepherd’s pie, and vegetables might form the basis for bubble and squeak.
Many pubs and restaurants in Britain serving food have a special “Sunday menu” that features a Sunday Roast, usually with a variety of meats available.
The Bull Hotel offers a three course Sunday Carvery Lunch in the Beeches Restaurant for £19.95 per person, so why not come along and join us for our version of a traditional English Sunday Roast.
Submitted by Adrienn Gal, Revenue Coordinator at The Bull