Tuesday, August 25, 2015


This is an extremely long post but do scroll down and read the variety of roasting foods this author, Thomas Jefferson Murrey writes about. I've truncated it a bit but left most of his recipes for Roasting in. These recipes are from 1885.

Roasting is ah excellent method of rendering food whokv some and nourishing. Without making any great change in the chemical properties of meat it renders it more tender and highly flavored, while there is not so much waste of its nutritive juices as in baking. But where can the average American get a slice of roast beef? Our homes are not provided with spits, bottle-jacks, Dutch ovens, and the like and as a very sensible writer in the New York Times stated, "ninetynine roasts in the United States are baked in ovens, and there is no help for it." I can see no possible way out of the dilemma but to submit gracefully to baked meats for ever. The leading hotels and restaurants overcome the difficulty by purchasing the very best of beef, and keeping it from eight to fifteen days in their ice-houses. Thus the excellent quality of the beef overcomes, in a measure, the bad effects created by the superheated volatile portions that escape from the beef during the process of baking.

No finer, better, or sweeter piece of meat was ever tasted^ either in England or America, than the Astor House roast beef; and the secret is in securing the best quality, and taking proper care of it before submitting it to the oven.

Roast Beef.—The best roasting-pieces are the fore and middle ribs and the sirloin. The chuck-ribs, althoup-h cheaper, are not as profitable to families, there being too much waste in the carving of them. The ends of the ribs should be removed from the flank, and the latter folded nnder the beef and securely fastened with skewers. Rub a little salt into the fat part; place the meat in the dripping-pan with a pint of stock or water; baste freely, and dredge with flour half an hour before taking the joint from the oven.
Should the oven be very hot place a buttered paper over the meat to prevent it scorching while yet raw, in which case it will need very little basting; or turn the rib side up towards the fire for the first twenty minutes. The time it will take in cooking depends entirely upon the thickness of the joint and the length of time it has been killed. Skim the fat from the gravy and add a tablespoonful of prepared brown flour and a glass of sherry to the remainder.

Roast Loin of Veal—Make an incision in the flank or skirt of the loin of veal, and into the cavity thus made, just over the end of the bone, put a well-flavored veal force-meat. Roll in the flank to cover the kidney-fat, and bind it firmly with string or tape. Place a few small veal bor.es will) a few assorted vegetables, cut up, in a dripping-pah; put the loin Upon this bed, add half a pint of stock or water, and set it in the oven for twenty minutes; in the meantime work together a tablespoonful cf flour with two tablespoonfuls Of melted butter; draw the joint from the oven, baste it with the flour and butter, return it to the oven again, and baste occasionally until done.
Veal should be thoroughly done. "When it is under-done it is decidedly indigestible and should be avoided.
The breast of veal boned, with a layer of force-meat spread over the inside and rolled and tightly bound, may be substituted for loin of veal.

Mutton.—The choicest mutton in the United States comes from the mountainous regions of Pennsylvania. The animals are semi-domestic and almost as shy and as timid as a deer. In 1878 Col. Duffy, one of Pennsylvania's fish commissioners, dined a party of English gentlemen on mountainmutton, and they pronounced it the finest-flavored morsel of venison they had ever eaten.

Roast Leg of Mutton.—Take a leg of well-kept mutton, rub it lightly with salt, and put it in a dripping-pan with a very little water; cut a potato in two lengthwise, and set it under the leg; baste with a little good dripping at first, and when within twenty minutes of being done, dredge it with flour to get it frothed. Turn the joint two or three times while cooking. Time, about a quarter of an hour to the pound.

Loin of Mutton,—Follow the directions given for roast log of mutton, but trim off all unnecessary fat, cover the joint with paper until within twenty minutes of its being done, then remove, baste, and flour slightly ; serve with currant-jelly. If properly cooked and served hot it is a royal dish, but if the fat is not turned to account, a very expensive one.

Lamb.—Put a four or five pound joint of lamb in a dripping-pan with a gill of stock or water; salt and pepper; roll two ounces of butter in a very little floUr, divide it into small pieces, and add it here aud there upon the meat; set the pan in a moderate oven, and baste frequently until done.
Skim the fat from the gravy, and serve with the lamb; or serve mint-sauce with the joint.

Mint Sauce.—Wash the sprigs of mint, let them dry on a towel, strip off the leaves, and chop them very fine; put in a sauce-boat with a cupful of vinegar and four lumps of sugar; let it stand an hour, and before serving stir all together. Mint sauce, if bottled, will keep for some time, and be just as good, if not better, than it was the first day.

Saddle of Lamb.—A saddle of lamb is a dainty joint for a small party. Sprinkle a little salt over it, and set it in the dripping-pan, with a few small pieces of butter on the meat; baste it occasionally with tried-out lamb-fat; dredge a little flour over it a few minutes before taking from the oven. Serve with the very best of currant-jelly, and send to table with it a few choice early vegetables. Mint-sauce may bo served with the joint, but in a very mild form.

Pork.—Pork, more than any other meat, requires to be chosen with the greatest care. The pig, from its gluttonous habits, is particularly liable to disease; and if killed and eaten when in an unhealthy condition, those who partake of it will probably pay dearly for their indulgence. Dairy-fed pork is the best; and knowing this fact, a number of our first-class hotels raise their own pork on farms connected with their country residences. Among them ihay be mt ntioned the Continental Hotel, Philadelphia; the Astor, Union Square, Sturtevant, Hoffman, Fifth Avenue, Windsor, and several other leading hotels in New York City. We are indebted to Chas. Lamb for the history of roast pig. In his essays he says: "The art of roasting, or rather broiling (which I take to be the elder brother), was accidentally discovered in the manner following: The swineherd Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods one morning, as his manner was, to collect mast for his hogs, left his cottage in the care of his eldest son, Bo bo, a great, lubberly boy, who, being fond of playing with fire, let some sparks escape into a bundle of straw, which, kindling quickly, spread the conflagration over every part of their poor mansion till it was reduced to ashes. Together with the cottage, what was of much more importance, a fine litter of new farrowed pigs, no less than nine in number, perished. Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for tin sake of the tenement—which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labor of an hour or two, at any time—as for the loss of the pigs. While he was thinking what he should say to his father, and wringing his hands, an odor assailed his nostrils unlike any scent which he had before experienced. What could it proceed from? Not from the burnt cottage; he had smelt that before. Indeed, this was by no means the first accident which had occurred through the negligence of this unlucky firebrand. A premonitory moistening at the same time overflowed his nether lip. He knew not what to think. He next stooped down to feel the pig, if there were any signs of life in it. He burn t his fingers, and to cool them lie applied them in his booby fashion to his mouth. Some of the crumbs of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world's, indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted—crackling! Again he felt and fumbled at the pig. It did not burn him so much now; still, he licked his fingers from a sort of habit. Thfc. truth at length broke into his slow understanding that it was the pig that smelt so and the pig that tasted so delicious; and surrendering himself up to the new-born pleasure, he fell to tearing up whole handfuls of the scorched skin, with the flesh next it, and was cramming it down his throat in his beastly fashion when his sire entered amid the smoking rafters, and, finding how affairs stood, began to rain blows upon the young rogue's shoulders as thick as hailstones, which Bo-bo heeded not any more than if they had been flies. The tickling pleasure which he experienced in his lower regions had rendered him quite callous to any inconveniences he might feel in those remote quarters. Bo-bo's scent, being wonderfully sharpened since morning, soon raked out another pig, and, fairly rending it asunder, thrust the lesser half by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out, 'Eat, eat! Eat the burnt pig, father! Only taste!' It is needless to state that both father and son despatched the remainder of the litter. Bo-bo was strictly enjoined not to let the secret escape. -Nevertheless strange stories got about; it was observed that Ho-ti's cottage was burnt down now more frequently than ever. As often as the sow farrowed, so soon was the house of Ho-ti seen to be in a blaze. At length they were watched, the terrible mystery discovered, and father and son summoned to take their trial at Peking, then an inconsiderable assize town. Evidence was given, the obnoxious food itself produced in court, and verdict about to be pronounced, when the foreman of the jury begged that some of the burnt pig of which the culprit stood accused might be handed into the box. He handled it, and they all handled it; and burning their fingers aa Bo-bo and his father had done before them, and nature prompting to each of them the same remedy, against the face of all the facts and the clearest charge which judge had ever given, to the surprise of the whole court, townsfolk, strangers, reporters (they had Howards and Raymonds in those days), and all present, without leaving the box, or any manner of consultation whatever, they brought in a simultaneous verdict of not guilty."
Dr. Kitchiner on Pork.—" Take particular care it be done enough. Other meats underdone, are unpleasant, but pork is absolutely uneatable; the sight of it is enough to appall the sharpest appetite, if its gravy has the least tint of redness. Be careful of the crackling; if this be not crisp, or if it be burned, you will be scolded."

The Turkey.—The turkey, says Brillat-Savarin, "is the largest, and, if not the most delicate, at least the most savory of domestic poultry. It enjoys the singular advantage of assembling around it every class of society. When our farmers and wine-growers regale themselves on a winter's evening, what do we see roasting before the kitchen fire, close to which the white-clothed table is set? A turkey! When the useful tradesman or the hard-worked artist invites a few friends to an occasional treat, what dish is he expected to set before them? A nice roast turkey stuffed with sausage-meat and Lyons chestnuts. And in our highest gastronomical society, when politics are obliged to give way to dissertations on matters of taste, what is desired, what is awaited, what is looked out for at the second course? A truffled turkey. In my 'Secret Memoirs' I find sundry notes recording that on many occasions its restorative juice has illumined diplomatic faces of the highest eminence."
Now, the average American could not be induced to eat a turkey stuffed with sausage-meat; he would naturally say that if the useful tradesman "or the hard-working artist" experienced any pleasure over such a compound, he was welcome to it; to him sausage-meat was too suggestive of pork and—mystery. But the Lyons chestnuts—ah! yes, that will do, for he has tasted chestnut stuffing and has learned to like it. A dissertation on truffles, while waiting for the "truffled turkey" to be served, is all that is necessary to make him say he is passionately fond of them in any form, otherwise he would be apt to ask the waiter to remove the dressing from his plate, "as it was full of small pieces of charcoal" (an actual occurrence).
Roast Turkey.—Singe the bird, and in drawing it preserve the heart, gizzard, and liver; remove the gall-bag from the liver, and be very careful not to break it, as if any of the liquid touches the bird no amount of washing will remove the bitter taste. Cut off the neck close to the body, and before doing so push back the skin of the neck so that sufficient may be left on to turn over the back; remove a part of the fat adhering to the skin; split the breast-bone from the inside, or place several folds of cloth on the high breast-bone and break and flatten it a little with a rolling-pin to make the bird look plump. Pill the breast and body with stuffing; sew up the opening with coarse thread; turn the neck-skin over the back and fasten it; truss the legs close to the breast, the wings turn over the back, using skewers.or twine to hold them in proper position. Put the turkey in the dripping-pan with a little hot water, dredge it with flour, and lay a few small pieces of butter upon it, and the feet, scalded and scraped, under it. Baste frequently. Time, from two to three hours, according to the size of the bird.
Should he prove to be of doubtful age and rich in spurs and scaly feet, parboil him. Put him in a saucepan or pot, cover with cold water, add a teaspoonful of salt, and when the water comes to a boil take out the bird and dry it well before stuffing it.

Roast Capon.—They should be managed in the same way as turkeys, and served with the same sauces. I cannot quite come to the conclusion that a roast capon is equal in flavor to one boiled and served with egg-sanee.

Roast Chicken.—Singe your chickens and truss them carefully. Broilers, as they are called, are better without stuffing, unless they are very large. Season with salt, put small oits of butter over the meat, and place them in the pan with a little water or veal stock; baste occasionally and d'-edge with flour before taking from the oven. A few tarragon leaves with the sauce are acceptable.

Roast Pigeon.—Kaise the skin from the breast-bones of the pigeons with your finger; make a small quantity of finely-flavored stuffing, and stuff it between the skin and flesh, using care not to break the skin. Fasten a long, thin slice of bacou over the breasts of the birds with toothpicks; put them in a dripping-pan with a little water, and dredge with flourWhen done remove the bacon, set them neatly around the edge of a dish, fill the centre with new green peas or GodilJot French peas, and serve. (A favorite dish of the members of the Club of Lindenthorpe, on the Delaware.)

Roast Domestic Duck—Americans, as a rule, do not take kindly to domestic duck, owing to its peculiar flavor and richness, and also to the fact of the bird being usually accompanied with, a very highly-seasoned onion stuffing. Nevertheless, a young domestic duck stuffed with a bread stuffing seasoned with salt, pepper, sage, and a suspicion of onion, is a dish that should often appear upon the tables of our American families. A pair of ducklings with no other stuffing than an onion placed inside the birds while roasting, and removed before serving, will make a splendid dinner for a family of five or six. Serve with apple-fritters or applesauce.

Roast Goose.—Singe, draw, and truss the goose, and, if an old one, parboil it. The best stuffing for a goose is a sageand-onion stuffing. The way in which this is made must depend upon the taste of those who have to eat it. If a strong flavor of onions is liked the onion should be chopped raw. If this is not the case they should be boiled in one or two waters, and mixed with bread-crumbs, powdered sage, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and two small apples chopped fine; fill the bird with the stuffing, sew it up with coarse thread, sprinkle salt over it, and set it in a pan with a little warm water; baste frequently, and do not take it from the oven until thoroughly cooked.

Ham a la Russe.—If the ham be hard and salty soak it for several hours. If a fresh-cured Ferris ham it will not need soaking. Trim and cut away all the rusty parts, and cover it with a coarse paste of flour and water half an inch thick, and fasten it securely to prevent the juice escaping. Time, from three to four hours, according to size of the ham. Eemove the paste and skin while the ham is hot, cover the fat with a sugar paste (see boiled ham) moistened with port, and return it to the oven a few minutes to brown.

Roast Venison.—Take a leg of well-kept venison, wipe it thoroughly, rub a little salt over it, and dredge with flour.

Place it in a dripping-pan with the ragged pieces yon have trimmed off of it, and a little water or wine. Put small bits' of butte.- here and there over the meat, set it in the oven, and baste frequently till done. If the leg is not very fat it is a good plan to lard it with strips of bacon or pork. Serve with currant-jelly, and don't forget the hot plates.
I am not a lover of venison a l'Anglaise, for I do not fancy the flour paste daubed over the meat as most English cooks prepare it, though the buttered paper is an advantage when cooking large joints of game.
Roast Prairie Chicken.—The bird being a little strong, and its flesh when cooked a little dry, it should be either larded or wide strips of bacon or pork placed over its breast. A mild seasoned stuffing will improve the flavor of old birds. Dust a little flour over them, baste occasionally, and serve.
Pheasants may be managed in the same manner.

Roast Quail.—Pluck and draw the birds, rub a little butter over them, tie a strip of bacon over the breasts, and set them in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes.
Roast Woodcock.—Pluck the bird carefully, do not cut off the head or draw the trail; punch a few holes in the buck of the bird with a fork, and lay it in the pan on a piece of buttered toast, A little salt is all the seasoning required. Time, twenty minutes. A woodcock is the only gamebird I send to table without currant-jelly; its own fine flavor needs no bush.

Roast Snipe.—Pluck and draw the snipe, preserving the trail and head; tie a thin strip of bacon over the breast; chop up the trail and spread it on buttered toast (one slice for each bird); lay the birds in the pan with the toast between them, and roast twenty minutes. Remove the bacon, place the birds on the toast, and serve.

Rail-Birds.—Rail-birds are decidedly inferior to either snipe or woodcock. They should be skinned, as much of their rankness lies in the skin. The trail is a trifle too strong for the average American palate. They make a very good, pie; manage them as you would snipe for roasting, broiling, etc.
Reed-Birds.—These delicious "lumps of sweetness," as they are appropriately called, are always acceptable, but to thoroughly appreciate a reed-bird dinner one must mingle with the gunners on the Delaware River as guest or member of one of the many clubs whose houses are situated within a few hundred yards from the hunting-grounds.

After the judge's decision as to who has high boat the birds are plucked (and at some of the club-houses drawn) arranged neatly in a dripping-pan with bits of fresh country butter between them. They are allowed to cook on one side a few minutes, and with a long-handled spoon are turned over to brown the other side. A little salt is added, and they are tlieu placed upon a hot platter en pyramide and the gravy poured over them; they are then sent to table with fried chip potatoes. The scene that follows baffles description. Not a voice is heard, "at leastas long as the birds last." The painful silence is only broken by the sounds of crumbling bones between the teeth of the assemblage, and an occasional More birds, Mr. Caterer! from that prince of gourmets, Mayor S.

Reed-Birds a la Lindenthorpe.—On "Ladies' Day" the members of this club are more particular than on "members' day." They prepare the birds by drawing the trail and removing the heads; they then take large sweet or Irish potatoes, cut them in two, scoop out the insides, and put an oyster or a small piece of bacon inside of each bird, and put the birds inside the potato, tie them up with twine, and bake until the potatoes are done. The common twine is then removed and the potatoes are tied with a narrow piece of white or colored tape, in a neat bow-knot, and sent to table on a napkin,

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