Long, slow cooking breaks down the fiber of meat, and so makes it more tender. Whatever method of cooking is employed, this fact should be remembered. Many of the tough pieces are the most nutritious ones, and can by slow cooking be made as acceptable as the more expensive cuts.
In order to shut in the juices, meat should at first be subjected to a high degree of heat for a short time. A crust or case will then be formed on the outside by the coagulation of the albumen, after which the heat should be lowered, and the cooking proceed slowly. The same rule holds for baking, where the oven must be very hot for the first few minutes only; for boiling, where the water must be boiling and covered for a time, and then placed where it will simmer only; for broiling, where the meat must be placed close to the coals at first, then held farther away.
Tough meats are better boiled, because a lower degree of heat can be maintained and slower cooking insured.
Dark meats should be served underdone or red; the white meats thoroughly cooked, but not dried.
Dry meats are improved by being larded.
Clean meat by wiping it with a wet cloth, but do not put it in water.
Do not pierce the meat with a fork while cooking, as it makes an outlet for the juices. If necessary to turn it, use two spoons.
Put two cupfuls of flour into a bowl, and mix in one half a teaspoonful of salt. Beat up three eggs, and stir them into the flour; then add two cupfuls of milk. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then turn it into a pan containing a little of the drippings from the roast beef. Let the batter be only one inch deep in the pan; Bake thirty to forty minutes. Cut the pudding in squares, and place it around the roast beef.
Ten to twelve minutes per pound.
The cut from the upper side of the round is a good roasting piece. It should be cooked very slowly after it is browned in order to make it tender. The under side of the round should be cooked a la mode, or braised.
Take one half cupful of salt pork, one half cupful each of carrot, turnip, onion, and celery, all cut into dice. Mix them together and spread them on a baking pan, reserving one half cupful for the top of the meat. On the bed of vegetables place a piece of beef cut from the upper or under side of the round, weighing five or six pounds. Dredge it with flour. Place it in hot oven to brown for twenty to twenty-five minutes. Then add two cupfuls of stock or water; a bouquet of herbs, consisting of parsley, six peppercorns, three cloves, one bay-leaf; spread the one half cupful of vegetables over the meat; add a half teaspoonful of salt to the pan, cover it closely with another pan, reduce the heat of the oven, and cook very slowly for four or five hours.
Double pans are made which are especially good for braising, where the steam should be confined as much as possible, and the basting is done automatically. These pans should not be used for baking meats. If very close fitting pans are not used, the water must be renewed when necessary, and basting done frequently. The success of this dish depends upon slow cooking. Strain the sauce from the pan, season with salt and pepper; pour a little of the sauce over the meat; serve the rest in a sauce-boat. It is very like a Spanish sauce. The vegetables may be served around the meat if desired. This way of cooking can be done in a pot if more convenient, and is then called a pot roast.