In a cool and airy larder, a leg of mutton will hang many days with advantage, if the kernel be taken out, and the flap wiped very dry when it is first brought in; and it is never tender when freshly killed : in warm weather it should be well dredged with pepper to preserve it from the flies. If washed before it is put upon the spit, it should be wiped as dry as possible afterwards, and well floured soon after it is laid to the fire. When the excellence of the joint is more regarded than the expense of fuel, it should be roasted by what we have denominated the slow method; that is to say, it should be kept at a considerable distance from the fire, and remain at it four hours instead of two: it may be drawn nearer for the last twenty or thirty minutes, to give it colour. The gravy will flow from it in great abundance when it is cut, and the meat will be very superior to that roasted in the usual way. When this plan is not pursued, the mutton should still be kept quite a foot from the fire until it is heated through, and never brought sufficiently near to scorch or to harden any part.
It should be constantly basted with its own fat, for if this be neglected, all other precautions will fail to ensure a good roast; and after it is dished, a little fine salt should be sprinkled lightly on it, and a spoonful or two of boiling water ladled over. This is the most palatable mode of serving it, but it may be frothed when it is preferred so, though we would rather recommend that the flour should be dredged on in the first instance, as it then prevents the juices of the meat from escaping, and forms a savoury coating to it; while the raw taste which it so often retains with mere frothing, is to many eaters especially objectionable.
Leg of mutton, 7 to 8 lbs.; slow method 4 hours, common method 1 3/4 to 2 hours.
Cover the joint well with cold water, bring it gradually to boil, and let it simmer gently for half an hour; then lift it out, put it immediately on to the spit, and roast it from an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half, according to its weight. This mode of dressing the joint renders it remarkably juicy and tender; but there must be no delay in putting it on the spit after it is lifted from the water; it may be garnished with roast tomatoes.
Boiled, 1/2 hour; roast, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour.