New cut, new gadget, new method

Easter Sunday; three to feed.

New cut

Lamb cushion – which I think is de-boned shoulder, folded, rolled and tied into a sort-of cushion shape.

New gadget

I am now the proud owner of a meat thermometer – a thermometer on a spike that you stick into roasting meat so as to measure what internal temperature has been reached.

New method

Slow roasting.

There’s quite a bit of ambiguity as to exactly what constitutes ‘slow’ roasting. Sometimes – it seems – one must refer to ‘ultra’ or ‘very’ slow roasting. Either way, I take it to mean the technique of roasting meat where the oven temperature is less than 100 Centigrade – a method I learned about in Xanthe Clay’s Recipes To Know by Heart.

Gentle roasting retains much more moisture, you get a more evenly-cooked result, and the method works best if you’re aiming at the rare-to-medium range. The downsides are unpredictability of cooking time, and no gravy – because the gravy juices don’t ‘escape’ – they stay within the joint.

You keep cooking until the meat reaches its target internal temperature – as measured by your trusty meat thermometer – which is essential. Xanthe Clay’s book gives an oven temperature of 80 Centigrade, suggests an internal meat temperature of 55-60 for medium-rare, and indicates a cooking time of 2-3 hours. You sear the joint in a heavy frying pan on all sides at the start, so as to brown the surface, to match what you get with conventional roasting.

I’m not sufficiently foodie to know how long this method has been around, or who developed the idea, but it does seem as though Heston Blumenthal has inspired at least some of the concept.

How cooking went

The lamb cushion was 1.41 kg, with these temperatures and timings:

  • 1 hour 32 min – 38.8
  • 2 hour 04 min – 49.0
  • 2 hour 27 min – 52.4
  • 2 hour 44 min – 53.7
  • 3 hour 10 min – 58.8

The end product

It certainly was pink ! Very pink indeed !

There’s no two ways about it – it was undercooked.

Learning points

The result was a bit disappointing and I did find myself apologising to those I had experimented on.

But overall I was glad I’d tried this interesting new way of cooking meat. This was a good trial run, and paves the way for future attempts – which I’m sure will be more successful.

Key learning points:

  • 2-3 hours is nothing like long enough.
  • Next time – think in terms of 4-5-6 hours.
  • For lamb – aim for internal temperature around 65-68 degrees.
  • Beef will probably give better results.

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