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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/254

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the flour must be fried brown before adding the liquid. A little caramel may be introduced to IMPROVE the colour, but it imparts nothing to the flavour, whereas frying develops the full flavour of both the flour and vegetables used in making brown sauces.


Gravy, pure and simple, is usually described as "the juices of the meat"; and it has been said that good gravy is an evidence of bad roasting or baking. But experience teaches us that the best gravy accompanies a joint which has been roasted before an open fire and well basted during the process, as is the custom in the north of England. Notwithstanding the argument that if the juices of the meat are in the gravy the joint must suffer, the north-country meat, when cut, is found to be full of gravy. Long before science had discovered the coagulating properties of albumin, it was the custom to put plenty of dripping into the tin before the fire, and as soon as it was hot the joint was hung on the "jack" and well basted. Without knowing the "why and wherefore," the most ignorant housewife would have explained that this method KEPT THE GRAVY IN. As the meat cooked before the clear bright fire it became crisp and brown; and each time it was basted some of the brown particles on the surface of the joint were carried down into the dripping and settled on the bottom of the tin, to be afterwards converted into gravy. From the above facts, we draw the conclusion that a browned surface and frequent basting produce good gravy. Meat baked in the oven has not quite the same flavour and nourishment as when roasted, but a juicy joint and good gravy are possibilities under the following conditions: the joint must be well basted with melted dripping or other fat before being put into the oven; the oven must be kept fairly hot until the meat is well browned all over; in the later stages of cooking the oven door should not be entirely closed, for meat cannot become crisp and brown in an oven full of steam; the joint must be frequently basted. Gravy in its most simple form is made by adding boiling water to the sediment which remains in the meat tin when the fat has been carefully poured off. It should be seasoned to taste, boiled up, stirring meanwhile to loosen the brown particles which adhere to the sides of the tin, well skimmed, and strained over or round the meat. Any bones that have been removed from the meat may be boiled to form the basis of the gravy, but nothing else must be introduced. Beef gravy must contain only salt and pepper; and mutton gravy the same ingredients, and a few drops of caramel when the gravy is very light in colour. Veal gravy, also, should be made from the bones, and after being mixed with that in the meat tin, should be slightly thickened with flour and butter kneaded together, or flour mixed smoothly with a little water. Gravies served with game, roast rabbits, etc., may be made from beef,