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A lot of the main celebrations in the UK are related to religion, like bonfire night and Christmas. But some more common traditions also have to do with it, like the Sunday roast.
Sunday roast and church
The Sunday roast used to be the meal families had after church on a Sunday. They would leave a large piece of meat and vegetables roasting while they went to service. When they came back the meal was ready.
For many people, this was the main meal of the week, and the leftovers got used throughout the rest of the week. Many families would have a large breakfast (that became the full English breakfast) and come home a bit later than usual for their midday meal, so the roast took replaced their lunch and most of their evening meal.
What’s in a Sunday roast?
The most important part is the meat. Traditionally beef or lamb is served, but other meats like pork or chicken are also popular.
Also important are the vegetables. They can be roasted with the meat or boiled on the side. The one that is always present is potatoes. Depending on the area and the time of the year carrots, swede, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, sprouts, green beans, cauliflower and peas could be served as well.
There is also always some type of gravy. Most people now usually use instant gravy granules that only need hot water (much like instant coffee). But traditionally it would be made from the juices left by the roasting of the meat and the vegetables.
Depending on the meat being served different sides can be served as well: Yorkshire puddings, apple sauce, mint sauce, mustard, pigs in blankets, stuffing, crackling…
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The Sunday roast Leftovers
Usually, more food than needed is cooked for a Sunday roast. The leftovers can be used during the week to make new dishes and quick meals. Sandwiches are a popular option nowadays. Some more traditional ones include bubble and squeak (potatoes and whatever vegetables are left fried in a pan), shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, and hash. A smaller cold version of a Sunday roast is another popular way of using leftovers.
If you want to have a go at making your own British-style Sunday roast, you can find a collection of recipes here.