The best way to clean up after a roast dinner
Whether it's Mother's Day, Easter weekend or just a regular old Sunday, nothing hits the spot quite like a roast dinner. But let's be honest, it's not the easiest meal to clean up after!
To help you get the carving knife gleaming, the oven sparkling and the roasting tin ready for next time, here's the best way to clean up after a roast.
Don’t be shy about sharing out the jobs – table clearing, washing up, drying up, loading the dishwasher, making the coffee. You’ll soon have the job done and everyone can put their feet up!
The roasting pan
Who hasn’t spent hours with a scouring pad trying to get rid of the grease and grime that roast meat leaves behind? Tip for next time: avoid this mess and use a roasting bag, which keeps all the juices in then can be binned. Disposable foil trays are now readily available and are perfect for roasting your potatoes and root vegetables. Once cool, wipe out any grease with kitchen paper, then pop the foil tray into the recycling.
But if you do end up with roasted, burnt-on mess in your pan, there’s a simple solution. Fill it with water, add a dishwasher tablet or 2tbsps of biological washing detergent, and put on the hob and simmer for around 15-20 minutes. The debris will lift away, and then you can rinse the pan as usual in your sink.
The interior: this is one of those jobs that can only get worse if you ignore it week after week. Splashes, spitting and general grease and grime needs to be removed, but luckily it doesn’t require a lot of work unless you’ve left it to be baked on again the next time you’ve used the oven. So, as soon as you’ve finished using the oven, put a heat-resistant bowl of water inside and heat at a high temperature for 20 minutes. This will help loosen dirt and grease by steaming the interior.
Then when it’s cool enough, wipe the interior surfaces with paper towels. Use a specialised oven cleaner, making sure it does not come into contact with stay-clean linings. These products can be toxic, so always wear rubber gloves and make sure the room is well ventilated.
Doors: Glass hob cleaners are ideal for cleaning up the oven door. First remove cooked-on deposits with a metal spatula or ceramic hob scraper, then rub on the glass cleaner using an e-cloth. Alternatively, a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water also works well. (If the glass is removable, soak it in a solution of biological detergent to remove grime.)
Shelves: Clean them in the dishwasher if they’ll fit. If not, place them in a large plastic storage box (or the bath) and soak them in a solution of biological washing detergent and water. Any remaining deposits can be removed by scrubbing with a mild abrasive cleaner or soap-impregnated pad.
Commercial products that use large plastic bags and degreasing solution are also a good alternative.
Make the job easier in the future by wiping the interior surfaces with paper towels after each use, and line the base with a piece of foil or an easy-clean oven sheet you can buy in most kitchen shops, just check you can cover the base of your oven by looking in your manufacturers manual.
The carving knife
While this doesn’t require extra scrubbing to remove the dirt, it's important to clean your knives properly so as to not ruin the blades.
We would advise against washing kitchen knives in the dishwasher, even if the manufacturer says it’s safe to do so. A dishwasher cycle can corrode both handle and blade, and some programs leave breaks in between rinsing, giving rust a chance to develop. Stick to hand-washing with a high-quality liquid and sponge and ensure you dry it straight after.
Whether you’re tackling the washing up straight away or leaving it while you digest your food, it’s always worth leaving the crockery and cutlery to soak in hot, soapy water. This will not only prevent deposits drying on but also save the dishwasher filter getting clogged up when you load it up.
Pots and pans
Wash up as you go along – pans are quick to clean and rinse out as soon as you have dished up the vegetables. And wash any utensils while the roast is cooking to reduce the clean up at the end.
Reuse the potato saucepan – par boil your potatoes ready for roasting then after a quick rinse use to cook other vegetables. This cuts down the number of pans on the hob and that will require washing! Use the potato water in your gravy.
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