Tips for Cooking Meat, Poultry and Game

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Meat-poultry-game_cMeat, poultry and game are all important sources of protein in the diet. Poultry and game are generally lower in fat than other meats. When choosing meat, try to choose lean cuts, and remove visible fat before cooking. The mineral, iron and B vitamins, nicotinic acid, riboflavin and folate are found in meat. Meat also contains thiamine, the highest content being in pork. Offal, such as liver, is a valuable source of nutrients.


Roasting

The original method of roasting was by radiant heat over a fire, the meat being placed on a spit which was rotated to cook the meat evenly. Roasting as we know it today is a baking method of cooking large tender joints of meat such as leg of lamb, pork or veal; ribs; topside or sirloin of beef; loin of beef; poultry and game. By placing meat in hot fat, basting well to cover the whole surface and cooking at a high temperature initially, the outside cells are immediately sealed to keep in the juices and flavour.

Meat, poultry, game

Prepare by wiping with a damp cloth. Weigh the joint and calculate the roasting time allowing:

Beef (with bone) 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 15 minutes over.

Beef (without bone) 20 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 20 minutes over. (Allow little less time for underdone meat; a little longer for meat well done).

Lamb (with bone) 20 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 20 minutes over.

Lamb (without bone) 25 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 25 minutes over.

Pork (with bone) 25 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 25 minutes over.

Veal (with bone) 25 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 25 minutes over.

Veal (without bone) 30 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 30 minutes over.

Pre-heat the oven to hot (220°C, 425°F, Gas No. 7). Place roasting tin in oven with 25-50g (1-2 oz) White Cap to heat up. Place meat in tin and baste well with hot fat. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes then reduce heat to moderately hot (190°C, 375°F, Gas No. 5) to finish cooking, basting at intervals. Serve with gravy and appropriate accompaniments.

Poultry

Prepare by washing well inside and out. Stuff with appropriate stuffing. Weigh the bird and calculate roasting time allowing:

Chicken and duck: 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 15 minutes over.

Turkey, goose: 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 15 minutes over for birds up to 5.5kg (12 lbs). 10 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 10 minutes over for very large birds, over 5.5kg (12 lbs).

Method 1: Proceed as for meat but for very large birds lower heat to moderate (180°C, 350°F, Gas No. 4) for the last hour of cooking.

Method 2: Place bird in hot fat, breast side down and cook as for meat until last 20 minutes. Turn the right way up and continue cooking to brown the breast This method keeps the breast moist, prevents drying out and is particularly good for large birds when longer cooking is required.

Rabbit and hare

Fresh: Rinse in cold water and wipe dry.

Frozen: Allow to thaw completely. To whiten flesh, bring to the boil in salted water, drain and dry. Prepare for roasting by laying 2-3 bacon rashers on top. Calculate roasting time allowing 15 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 15 minutes over. Roast as for meat, but after first 20 minutes reduce heat to moderate (350°F, 180°C, Gas No. 4) to finish cooking, basting at intervals.

Game birds

Prepare by washing thoroughly inside and out Place a small piece of Stork and seasoning inside the body cavity to help keep moist during cooking. Place rashers of streaky bacon, cut in half, overlapping across the breast, to prevent overcooking.

For roasting time allow:

Grouse and partridge: 35-40 minutes.

Pheasant: 45-60 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to fairly hot (200°C, 400°F, Gas No. 6) and cook as for meat but without lowering temperature.



Useful hints

Cooking meat in foil

1. Weigh the meat and calculate the cooking time. Times vary with different cookers and fuel power and according

to the degree to which the individual likes meat and poultry cooked. Therefore the chart is only an approximate guide.

2. Use a large enough piece of foil to enclose the joint or poultry completely. Place on a roasting tin or baking sheet. Lay meat on top. Fold up the sides of the foil making a loose parcel which will trap all the juices. (This will allow the heat to circulate and ensure that every part is cooked). Press together at the centre to keep the foil in place. Roast as directed.

3. Open the foil for browning during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.

4. Pour out the juices from the foil at the end of cooking into a saucepan to make gravy.

5. If an electric cooker is used, keep foil away from the heating elements.


Advantages of cooking meat in foil:

1. It reduces shrinkage.

2. It keeps the oven cleaner and washing up is easier.

3. The juices from the meat are saved in the foil, instead of being baked on to the roasting tin.

4. No basting is necessary, as the natural juices are sealed in.

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