Thursday, 10 March 2016

HFF - Roasts

Historical Food Fortnightly -  Roasts They’re a staple of the historic table, in many different shapes and forms and types. It’s also a cooking technique. Try a historic recipe for a roast, or a recipe that involves roasting, and tell us how it turned out.

What I discovered  was that in the early and mid 19th century, roasting was still a term which was associated with hearth cooking on an open flame.   Roasting as we do it today, in an oven, was often called baking.  The American Economical Housekeeper (1845) says the following, suggesting the difference between roasting and baking meats, back in the day.

I chose to bake my challenge as, that is what we consider roasting today and because I didn't have an open hearth available to play with.

In several different cookbooks, it suggested that spring fowl should be roasted unstuffed.   They would then be frothed, which is sprinkling the skin with flour and melted butter.  Because various members of my family cannot eat wheat or dairy, I didn't froth my chickens as my current gluten free flour doesn't sprinkle nicely like wheat flour.  I chose the spring chicken recipe, because the 2 fowl I purchased were small and since the current industry standard seems to be 6-8 weeks for broiler/fryer chickens, I figured they were pretty close to what a spring chicken would be.   That is the only type of chicken which is available in local stores, so it limited my choices.
The cat only sniffed, didn't eat :)

I stuck 2 chickens in a roasting pan, basted lightly with olive oil and stuck them in a pre-heated oven.  I basted them once or twice more before they were done.   After removing the chickens from the pan, I thickened the liquid in the pan, using starch instead of the suggested flour, to make a gravy.   Served with Potato Balls from an earlier challenge, salad and broccoli, it made a delicious and simple to prepare meal.

Recipe Date: about 1830-45

Cost:  $11 for 2 chickens

Time:  1.5 hours

Successful:  Very tasty indeed and super easy

Accuracy:  It was baked meat using the limitations of modern stoves and diets - close  enough, although I'm pretty certain that it would be recognized for what it was regardless of time period. 

Picture of Kevin the Obnoxious, for Christiana.

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