This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Have the oven at first as hot as for bread.1 Skewer or tie the meat into compact form, place on a rack in a pan with the skin side down, and dredge meat and pan with flour. In the pan put one tablespoonful of salt and one-fourth teaspoonful of pepper. If the meat is very lean, put a few bits of fat in the pan. When the beef is seared and the flour brown, reduce the heat, and baste the meat; that is, dip over it the melted fat from the pan.2 Baste about once in ten minutes until done. After half an hour turn the roast over to brown the skin side.
After removing the roast to the plate, take out the rack and pour or skim off most of the fat from the liquid in the pan. Set the pan on the stove, and dredge into this liquid about three tablespoonfuls of flour. Add one and one-half cupfuls of boiling water, and boil five minutes, stirring. Taste to see how much salt and pepper is required, add these, and strain into a gravy boat. (Browning of flour, p. 69.)
1 The smaller the roast the hotter should be the oven. It is well to sear a small roast by holding each part of its surface in turn on a hot frying-pan; if this is done, less heat is required in the oven.
The fat and flour, aided by heat, form a crust, imprisoning the juices of the meat, and preventing the lean from charring.
Into each of two test-tubes put two bits of meat of the same size. Cover one with cold water, the other with hot water, and boil the latter for two or three minutes. After letting both stand for ten or fifteen minutes, observe (a) differences in the appearance of the bits of meat, (6) in the appearance of the water in the two test-tubes. Which piece of meat has lost the most juice? Explain why.
Should the cooking water for meat be cold or hot when the meat is put into it? Why? How may we contrive to retain the juice and yet not overcook the meat? Is it strictly correct to call meat properly cooked in water "boiled" meat? Which is higher flavored, roasted or so-called boiled meat?
The great heat to which meat is exposed in broiling or roasting decomposes some of its constituents, producing new compounds of richer flavor. A temperature of 212° F. being too low to produce these chemical changes, the flavor of meat cooked in water is, by comparison, insipid.