The Simple Art of Roasting
Roasting is a relatively simple art that can turn any meal into a feast. Actually the original art form of roasting was usually for a feast. It was prepared for feed a large crowd, holiday celebrations and special events.
The original method is called spit roasting and has been used for hundreds of years as it is today. It’s enjoyed all over the world, on every continent and village where meats and vegetables are slowly roasted over an open fire pit. Most of the time this method was used for roasting whole animals whether it was wild game, fish or domesticated animal.
As ovens came into being the same dry heat process was used and the heat became more intensified in an enclosed space. As pots and containers became more prevalent other ingredients were added. The caramelizing process happened more quickly and the cooking time became shorter.
Roasting has a Distinctive Flavor
It’s important to note that what sets this method of cooking apart from other styles, and what gives roasting its distinctive flavor, is the layer of fat that is under the skin of the meat, game, fowl or fish being cooked. The high heat melts the fat and combines with the seasonings and marinades to form a shiny crust on the outer surface while sealing in the deep rich flavors.
When an oven is used and the meat is placed in some form of pot or container the same roasting process takes place. Many recipes call for the addition of fruits, vegetables or potatoes that surrounds the roast. The fat, meat juices, seasonings, and marinades add a flavorful rich taste that becomes caramelized and crispy on the outside yet tender-sweet on the inside.
Roasting usually provides some very tasty leftovers that can be used in many different ways. I enjoy leftovers like roasts, turkey, chicken and ham in sandwiches with chutney, tapenades, mustards and other sauces that add to the already delicious flavor of the meat. These are great for lunches and snacks any time of day. Leftover roasted salmon is one of my favorites when served chilled. Vegetables are quite good when served at room temperature.
There are many times when you’ll have leftovers that can be used as a base for making wonderful tasting soups. Be sure to save the bones and bits of meat from the leftovers. You can freeze what you don’t use for another time. The roasting process intensifies the flavors and they become prominent in the soup without the need to start from scratch.
Here are some easy to follow roasting tips that will enhance your roasting experience and increase the enjoyment of every meal you make.
- Use a high level heat to seal in the flavors and create a shiny caramelized crust.
- Uncover the roasting pan so the items become roasted rather than steamed
- Use a shallow roasting pan to release any excess moisture.
- Basting should be limited during the roasting process.
- Turn the vegetables and fruits often to caramelize.
- Save the pan drippings and juice for deglazing to make delicious gravy, sauce or stock for soups.
- The drippings, bones and deglazed liquids should be frozen and kept for future use.
- Don’t over cook the meat as it will become dry and lose tenderness.
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