I’ve enjoyed quite a few camp oven roasts in my time and I never tire of them. I think the atmosphere that surrounds what can only be described as the ritual of the roast is what makes the meal so exquisite.
Everyone has their own way of doing it and I don’t pretend to know the best way, but there are a few things you should do that will help the outcome no end.
First, don’t let anyone but the cook play with the fire. That’s number one.
Next, start with a big fire some hours earlier in order to get a good bed of coals going, then keep a good supply of medium-sized split logs on the go so you can keep your supply of coals up.
Thirdly, try to control the urge to check how it’s going. You should be able to smell and hear if your roast is cooking away nicely. Trust your instincts.
ROLLED ROAST WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
For the roast lamb or beef
- 2 brown onions, peeled and halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved
- 6 potatoes, washed and halved
- 250g pumpkin, cut into pieces
For the gravy
- Oil for browning
- 1 410g tin of tomato pieces
- 1 stick celery, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 spring fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Gravox or plain flour
On a stove or bed of coals, warm the camp oven until hot and sear your meat on all sides to add colour. This will also impart a richness to the gravy. Season the meat and then set aside, reserving any juices for the gravy.
In the pot you plan to cook the roast in, brown the celery, onion, carrot and garlic in a little oil. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper and bring to the boil before simmering for 5 minutes. Add the rosemary.
Add a trivet to the camp oven to allow the roast to sit above the gravy and place meat into the camp oven. Place the oven into a hot bed of coals and put coals on the lid. This is the browning period. Leave for 20 minutes until the coals have reduced and died down. Brush away and check the meat is browned and cooking has begun.
Add all of the vegetables to the pot and replace the lid.
Add a small amount of coals underneath and a good amount to the lid. Keep the coals up to the lid for another hour. When you are satisfied the meat is cooked to your liking, remove vegetables and meat and cover with foil to rest.
If the pot juices are too reduced, add water and stir. Add the Worcestershire sauce and gravy mix to the sauce in the pot and stir until thickened. Season to taste. Remove the rosemary and discard. Slice and serve the meal with lashings of gravy.