This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Broiled tender meat is the most digestible of any way in which it may be served, if properly prepared. The broiler should be slightly oiled with a good vegetable oil or butter, and the meat put in and seared at once, then turned immediately so that it will be seared on the other side and the juices retained. It should be turned from time to time during the cookery. When done, the meat should present a slightly puffy appearance, due to the distention by heat of the encased juices. The salt or other seasonings should be added after the meat has been broiled.
Pan-broiling may be adopted when it is not possible to broil over direct heat. In this case a heavy skillet should be heated until smoking hot, and the meat should be put in without any extra fat, the fat from the edges of the chops or steak, or whatever is being cooked, giving out enough so that the meat will not stick. Turn the meat at once, as in ordinary broiling, and then at a minute or two intervals until it is done.
There is really no such thing now-a-days as the roasting of meat, unless it is cooked before an open fire, or under the gas flame. Meat is usually baked in the oven, for true roasting is really just another form of broiling, should be heated at first to 425° and after the first fifteen minutes reduced to 375°. By this means the meat is seared at once, so that the juices cannot escape, and, as in the case of broiled meat, the roast will not look thin and scraggy when done, but should appear a bit puffy. Salt should be added before the meat is put on to cook, and the roast, whatever the kind, should be thoroughly sprinkled with flour, some being allowed to fall upon the bottom of the pan, so that the gravy will automatically thicken itself. Unless a double roaster is used the meat should be basted occasionally with a little hot water, in which has been melted a teaspoonful of oleomargarine, butter or drippings to a cupful of water. If a double roaster is used, a little water should be put in the bottom of the pan as soon as the flour is browned.
To roast under the gas flame light the burners five minutes before the meat is to be cooked. Put the meat in a dripping pan, and dust it with salt, pepper and flour. Set the pan on the broiler three notches from the bottom of the oven, reducing the gas burners half, and, as soon as the meat is seared, turn it over. When brown on all sides, baste every ten minutes with a cupful of water in which has been dissolved a tablespoonful of butter or oleomargarine. The time of cooking depends upon the meat.
So-called "boiled meat" is one of the most digestible ways in which meat can be served, yet there is no method less understood. The meat should be plunged into a kettle containing enough boiling water almost to submerge it, then be covered closely, set on the back of the range, and allowed to simmer until tender. Simmering means to keep it just below the boiling point. When half done it may be salted. Meat cooked in this way is tender enough to be cut with a fork, is sweet and delicious, and will be done fully an hour sooner than can be accomplished with rapid boiling. Besides all this there is less shrinkage, therefore more meat.
Stewed meat is prepared differently from boiled meat. In this case it is cut into small pieces, "handsome mouth-fuls" an old book terms it, put into cold water, covered, and brought slowly to boiling point. It is then allowed to simmer until nearly done, when the vegetables and seasonings are added. Lastly the stew is thickened. The reason that boiling water is used for the boiled meat is to seal or "sear" the meat pores by extreme heat, so that the meat juices may be preserved. In stewing, cold water is used so that the slow heat will draw out the juices and flavor.
In this case the meat is seared or browned all over in drippings and is then placed in a deep kettle containing a few diced vegetables as onions, carrots, etc., with water to one-third cover, and allowed to simmer till tender, It is most important that it be closely covered, for every bit of escaped odor means that just so much savor is lost from the meat. If necessary, weight on the cover with a flat-iron or brick.
Braising is the intermediary process between pot-roasting and roasting. To accomplish this the meat is first browned in hot beef drippings, then placed on a thick bed of vegetables in a kettle containing a small amount of water. This is covered, set in the oven, and cooked until tender, turning once during the process.
Cooking en casserole is a combination of stewing and braising. In this case the meat is usually browned, then put into the casserole with vegetables, rice, crumbs, or macaroni, water or stock covered, and slowly cooked in the oven until tender. It should not boil.