It’s hard to beat baking tray meals for convenience. Roasting proteins and vegetables side by side in the same pan is a fuss-free path to a complete meal. Well, almost complete — where’s the sauce? A baking tray is still a kind of pan, so why do we reserve pan sauces for frying pans?
Even though I use a very similar method whenever I roast ingredients for stocks and soups, the concept of a baking tray sauce didn’t click for me until I saw Alison Roman’s vinegar chicken with crushed olive dressing everywhere on Instagram. It’s a genius idea: roast meats and/or veg on a baking tray, remove to a plate and pour stock, cream, booze, vinegar, or even plain old water straight into the still-hot baking tray.
Scrape up the browned bits with a spoon just like you would in a frying pan, season with salt and pepper, and pour over everything. If the sauce looks too thin, set the pan back in the hot oven for about five minutes to reduce.
I decided to try it on my favourite baking tray meal: the roasted Italian sausage, potatoes and onions from Matty Matheson’s cookbook. After roasting, I piled the goods on a plate and deglazed the tray with half a cup of homemade chicken stock, plus 2 tablespoons each of cider vinegar and smooth Dijon mustard.
It was the kind of dish you can’t stop eating: hearty sausages, crispy potatoes soaked in sausage juices, and an addictively tangy sauce to top it all off. I’m never skipping baking tray sauce again, and I can’t wait to see what it can do for roasted vegetables.