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One such way is through the use of an air-fryer, rather than a typical oven, to prepare the meal. As such, Rebecca Astill recently decided to try this new trend for herself, and was surprised by the result.
Writing about her experience for BirminghamLive, she began: “Like most Brits, I flippin’ love a roast dinner. I was fortunate to grow up with mum making one pretty much every Sunday without fail, and it got me hooked.
“One of the greatest sadnesses about moving out of my parents’ house was missing out on those weekly roasts. But on a budget, and with energy costs higher than ever, it’s just impractical to make a whole roast for myself. Based on an hour’s worth of cooking for a roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables, using an electric oven costs 60p. That’s quite a lot for one meal, especially if you try to do it every week.
“But there just might be an alternative. I worked out, using an energy cost calculator, that using my Ninja Air Fryer for an hour would only cost 43.4p. That’s a whole 16.6p less, and these days every little adds up. This could be the answer to putting roasts back on the Sunday menu, at a slightly more affordable rate.
“Air fryers also use about 70% less fat, so there’s the added advantage of fewer calories, too. I headed to Tesco and picked up the ingredients, before setting about attempting a roast dinner in an air fryer.
“Here is how I did it.”
- Whole chicken
- Bisto gravy
- Olive oil
- Optional – lemon, thyme, rosemary, butter
- Bring your air fryer up to heat by setting it to 180C for five minutes
- While the air fryer warms up, cut up lemon into wedges and stuff it inside chicken with the thyme
If you’re feeling extra fancy, rub butter inside the skin of the chicken
Once the air fryer is at temperature, pop the chicken inside and set to go for 40 minutes at 180C
While the chicken cooks, prep your vegetables, I used broccoli, carrots and potatoes but you can use anything – chop reasonably small, drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper
When the air fryer is done, flip the chicken over and set it to go for another 10 minutes
Pull the chicken out to rest and add potatoes in for 20 minutes
When 10 minutes has gone, add the carrots and broccoli for the last 10 minutes
Plate up and enjoy
“I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from an air fryer roast but it certainly wasn’t quite how good it was. The chicken was the main event, it was perfectly and evenly cooked throughout, with a crispy skin and moist meat.
“Even next to the bone, no meat was pink, everything was a consistent, even colour. The flavouring from the lemon and thyme had slightly seeped out leaving a barely identifiable fragrance.
“Elsewhere on the plate, the potatoes had crispened up perfectly thanks to being cut quite small, and the carrots had caramelised on the outside as if roasted in an oven. The only disappointment was the broccoli which was overdone – definitely something to work on.
“I copped out with the gravy, using Bisto, but it brought the whole dish together perfectly. If you had served that meal up in front of me, I would never have been able to guess it was made in an air fryer rather than a regular oven, nor that it was a low fat alternative.
“The crispy golden skin on the chicken speaks for itself.”
Harveys Kitchen reveal their top tips for 'perfect' Sunday roast
How does an air fryer work?
“A kitchen appliance that cooks everything an oven can, but with less calories and less energy cost, it has to be too good to be true, surely? I was late to the air fryer game, only acquiring one earlier this year, but I’ve never looked back.
“Air fryers work using convection heat, by circulating hot air to cook the food. It creates the effect of fried food without the need for oil.
“Although a reasonable investment to start with, air fryers will end up saving you money so far as energy costs are concerned.”
What air fryer should you buy?
“From personal experience, I’ve only used two but I can recommend both for different reasons. My favourite is the Ninja Air Fryer AF100UK which is currently on sale for £99.99, down from its usual price of £129.99.
“It’s easy to use and has four options, air fry, roast, reheat and dehydrate. The Ninja Air Fryer is easy to clean (which can be an issue with other air fryers) and is big enough to make several portions.
“I’ve also used the Proscenic T22 Air Fryer on Amazon. It has 13 presets, including chips, fish and meat, so it’s great for beginners, and is also slightly bigger than the Ninja Air Fryer.
“If you’ve got a bigger family, it’s worth investing in the Ninja Dual Zone Air Fryer , which gives you two baskets. They really do pay for themselves after a few months of consistent use.”
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