British Sunday lunch is also known as a Sunday Roast and is the very heart of British food and cooking. It is when families and friends get together and share good food. For the cook in the house, the roast recipes are time-consuming but worth every minute on the stove. Each household has its own favorite recipes.
A traditional British Sunday lunch is composed of roast meat – with roast beef at the top of the list – alongside Yorkshire Puddings, gravy, vegetables, and a dessert of pudding in the cold months replaced by a different sweet in the summer. This hearty lunch is a matter of national pride and one of the most fabulous meals you'll experience in the UK.
01 of 05
Appetizers are rarely offered at Sunday lunches at home because the main menu is usually so filling that starters would simply be too much. However, in a restaurant or pub, there are always starters on the menu.
If you feel you must offer a starter because you're serving a late lunch or maybe because there are hungry kids in the crowd, make it light. Here are our suggestions for a great start to your Sunday lunch:
- Prawn Cocktail: Mix cooked and peeled prawns with a creamy pink sauce of ketchup, horseradish, and mayonnaise, then place on crunchy lettuce.
- Pea and Mint Soup: Cook peas, mint, broth, onions, and butter to perfection in this silky soup. Parmesan adds a great salty kick to the soup; keep it dairy-free by skipping the cheese and replacing the butter for vegetable margarine.
- Carrot and Ginger Soup: This soup is easy to make and is a great appetizer for the colder months. The spicy ginger heats up your mouth and can keep your appetite in check while you wait for the bigger feast. Crunchy almonds top the soup, or for tree-nut allergies use pepitas or sunflower seeds.
- Easy Chicken Consomme: A beautiful clear broth, this chicken consomme is delicate and flavorful. Although time-consuming, it's easy to make and fun. You'll learn how egg whites help clarify your broth. It's science, but tasty science!
02 of 05
There is no better main course for a traditional Sunday lunch than a roast. A juicy roast beef is usually the favorite choice but pork, lamb, or chicken also work well. Depending on the time you have and your family's preferences, choose one roast, and make plenty of it (think 1/2 pound/8 ounces per person):
Roast Beef with Garlic and Thyme: This easy recipe requires a quick rub on the meat with herbs and butter and 90 minutes in the oven.
Roast Pork and Crackling: This tasty recipe uses the pork skin to make a crunchy crackling that is served alongside the meat and a yummy gravy made from pan drippings. You need 1 hour and 40 minutes to bring this dish to life.
Roast Lamb: Cook the lamb alongside vegetables and potatoes for an all-in-one dish that makes things easier for the Sunday cook. Aromatic herbs and all the vegetables add layers of flavor to the meat. You need 1 hour and 15 minutes in the oven after 20 minutes of prep time.
Roast Chicken: This whole chicken serves 4 people and you can double the amounts to bake 2 or more in the same oven. Butter the chicken, add garlic and salt, and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Use the chicken juices to make a simple sauce and serve on the side in a gravy boat.
British Pork and Cider: It's an excellent lunch dish or main course for dinner or an alternative Sunday lunch. This recipe for pork and cider together with a little mustard and cream makes a delicious, lovely, and light casserole that is very easy to prepare.
03 of 05
In some parts of the UK, mainly Yorkshire, it is common to serve Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy as a starter rather than with the main dish. This tradition goes back to times of austerity when eating the Yorkshire puddings as a starter filled you up so you'd eat less meat for main. But, in general, these tasty puddings do accompany the main dish.
If you're not familiar with Yorkshire puddings, you're in for a treat. Pour a very cold egg, flour and milk batter into smoking hot muffin tins where a portion of animal fat (lard, duck, or goose fat) is already melted. The puddings bake for an extra 20 minutes.
04 of 05
Side Dishes and Gravy
Once the roast is sorted and the Yorkshire puddings have been mixed, then it's time to pay attention to the side dishes. Essentially, these will always be a range of seasonal vegetables. Gravy and sauces, on the other hand, use the pan drippings with other ingredients to moisten your meat and bind together the flavors of your main roast and your sides. Here are our suggestions for both:
Continue to 5 of 5 below.
- Winter Vegetables: Choose this 1-hour, 1-pan dish for an extraordinary addition of aromatic winter vegetables baked with herbs and olive oil.
- Brussels Sprouts: This simple 3-ingredient recipe involves sprouts, olive oil, and salt – and just 20 minutes in the oven.
- Beef Gravy: Cook the drippings from your beef roast with red wine, vegetable broth, and butter for a tasty and easy beef gravy. Add mushrooms for texture or keep it plain.
- Poultry Gravy: Drippings from your pan, flour, and water are all that it takes for this poultry gravy to be ready in under 20 minutes.
- Mint Sauce for Lamb: Cook fresh mint in a sugary and vinegary liquid to make a refreshing sauce for lamb.
05 of 05
The crowning glory of any Sunday lunch is the pudding or dessert. Puddings belong in colder weather as they are heavier, warming, and filling. Summer gatherings also welcome a sweet finish with lighter tarts or trifles:
- Bread and Butter Pudding: This creamy and easy pudding uses sliced bread, raisins, eggs, sugar, and milk to make a sweet, mild treat that is a British favorite.
- Spotted Dick: This traditional dessert features suet to make a flaky dough that is then filled with raisins, currants, and sugar. The dough is rolled on itself and then either steamed for 2 hours or baked for 1 hour and a half.
- Treacle Tart: This tart is filled with molasses, eggs, golden syrup, and breadcrumbs and is, therefore, very sweet. Use store-bought pastry to cut your cooking time.
- Bakewell Tart: This traditional tart consists of raspberry jam on top of a homemade pastry crust, and a filling of cream, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds. It's mild and delicious!
- Sherry Trifle: Trifles are beautiful and time-consuming layered preparations that combine custard, sponge cake, and fruit. This one comes together easily because you can buy everything already made at the store and just layer it at home in pretty individual glasses.