The original article is from GQ. The author is Paula Forbes
The easiest way to cook for a gathering of any kind.
It’s very, very easy to get overwhelmed when hosting a party. Every food website under the sun is yelling about Duck a l’Orange and Malbec-braised lamb and who knows what else. Don’t overthink it! All you need to make your people happy is a starch, some sort of vegetable, and a big hunk of roasted meat. And dessert! But you can buy the dessert from somewhere.
And, okay, a big hunk of meat can be intimidating, sure. But it’s really not that complicated: Roasting is basically three steps. Season, roast, rest. Are there fancier ways to do this? Yes. Are there entire books written on the subject roasting meat? Sure. But if you just want to get it done so you can chill out and drink a batch cocktail, here’s the path of least resistance.
(Oh, and for all of these, you can either serve them with the pan juices or use this method to make gravy. It's never a bad time for gray.)
Turkey or Chicken
For all the November hand-wringing over how to roast a turkey, it’s really not all that complicated. The method is more or less the same as roasting a chicken, it’s just...bigger.
For either: Salt and pepper the bird generously the night before and leave it in the refrigerator. Day of, heat your oven to 325 and put the bird in a roasting pan. Tuck its wings behind its shoulders and tie its legs together with a bit of twine or string (sometimes they come from the butcher pre-tied, that’s fine, leave it). Put your bird in the oven. If the skin starts to look too dark at any point, cover it with foil. If it’s too light and you want it crispier, jack up the oven temperature to 450 towards the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.
You’re looking for a meat thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh to reach 165F. It’ll take a chicken an hour and a half-ish depending on size, and here’s a great guide to estimating turkey times.Take it out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes or so, cut it up, eat it.
Ask a butcher for a pork loin roast. You do not want tenderloin, which are tiny and won’t feed your hungry crowd. The night before, salt and pepper the roast generously and leave it in the refrigerator. On the day of your feast, heat your oven to 375F and put the pork loin in a roasting pan, fat-side up. Some people will also put big hunks of vegetables in there: onions, carrots, celery, garlic. Apple is nice, too. Roast it until a meat thermometer stuck way the heck into the middle of the roast registers 145F. Let it rest for a bit and serve in thin slices.
There are a lot of different cuts of beef you can roast, and they all roast differently. Plus, it’s expensive. You’re going to need more than a quick paragraph recipe to not mess this one up: May I recommend this one?
You want a boneless leg of lamb here, which ideally will be tied into a roast shape by your butcher. Salt and pepper the roast generously the night before and leave it in the refrigerator. Ina Garten roasts her lamb at 450F for an hour and a half-ish, and so I roast my lamb at 450F for an hour and a half-ish. Until it hits 145F on a meat thermometer for medium. Let it rest, slice thinly, and serve.
Buy a good quality fully cooked ham. Heat it up according to the instructions on the label. Slice and serve. The easiest of all.
To the two or three vegetarians who somehow made it down this far: Hi, sorry about all that. The classic vegetarian holiday entree of stuffed acorn squash is great and all, but have you considered roasting a whole head (or two!) of cauliflower? This is a two-step process, but you can complete step one a day or two ahead.
Step one: Bring a big pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Some people will add things that taste good to this, including wine, herbs (rosemary, thyme), cloves of garlic, etc. Do so if you’d like, just eyeball it, you’re not going to mess this up. Cut the leaves off the bottom of the cauliflower, and cut out as much of the core as you can without the whole head falling apart. Boil the head for 15-20 minutes, until it’s tender when pierced with a knife. Remove it from the water (use tongs or two spatulas) and pat dry.
Step two: Take some butter out of the refrigerator to soften. Crank your oven as high as it will go. Put your cauliflower on a baking sheet and slather it with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven until it turns lovely and golden brown (it will also smell amazing), which will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Unlike the other roasts, this guy doesn’t make its own sauce. It would taste great with tomato sauce and parm, or else just sprinkle it with a bunch of chopped herbs and serve it with lemon wedges. Cut it into wedges and serve.
Author: Paula Forbes