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Rules for Roasting

To roast successfully, make up a nice clear fire. When once made up, it should be replenished, if necessary, by putting on coal or coke at the back. The live coals should be drawn to the front to prevent smoke. Fasten the joint to the jack. Place the roaster close to the fire for the first ten minutes, so that the heat of the fire may at once harden the albumen, and form a case to keep in the flavour and juices. Afterwards, draw the roaster farther back and cook gradually, basting every ten minutes. The basting keeps the meat from drying up, and gives it a better flavour. The length of time allowed for roasting is the same as for boiling, the rule being a quarter of an hour for each pound, and a quarter of an hour over. For white meat, veal and pork, or solid joints without bone, allow twenty minutes to the pound, and twenty minutes over. These rules, however, cannot always be strictly adhered to, as the size and shape of the joint must be taken into consideration, as well as the weight. Meat that has been frozen will take longer to cook than fresh meat. Meat which has been well hung will take a shorter time than fresh meat. If a jack is not used, the joint should be fastened to a rope of worsted, which should be kept constantly turning.

Gravy, for a joint, may be made according to two methods. The first method is to take the dripping-pan away half an hour before the joint is cooked, then to put a hot dish in its place, and to pour the contents of the pan into a basin. Put the basin into a refrigerator; or, place it on ice. As soon as it is cold, the fat will cake on the top of the gravy, and should be removed very carefully. Make the gravy hot, diluting it with warm water, if necessary, and pour it round the joint.

The other and more usual method of making gravy, is to pour away all the fat from the pan as soon as the joint is cooked; and then pour into the pan a sufficient quantity of hot water, scraping well the brown glaze from the bottom; colour carefully with caramel, or burnt sugar, and pour it round the joint, not over it. Pouring the gravy over the meat destroys its crispness.

On no account make gravy from stock; stock is quite unsuitable, as the vegetable flavour is, to many persons, disagreeable.


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The Skilful Cook (1905).

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