It is suspected that the earliest humans roasted their meat after discovering that cooked meat was both tastier and easier to digest than raw meat. Roasting was done on a turning stick over an open fire. The juices ran over the meat, keeping it moist. Today roasting food in the oven is very popular because it is so easy to do and produces such a nice end product.
Tips for successful roasting:
Roasting may sound complicated, but it is actually very easy to do. Roasting is often associated with cooking tougher cuts of meat, but it is also a great method for preparing delicious vegetables.
To roast meat:
Place the meat, fat side up, on a rack in an open, shallow pan. Insert a thermometer in to thickest part of the meat. Place the pan in the oven at 300º F to 350º F and cook until the thermometer reads at least the minimum safe temperature. Roasting meat at a low temperature allows it to stay moist and tender. USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
- Beef Roasts 145º F
- Pork Roasts 160º F
- Poultry 165º F
Allow the meat to stand for 15 minutes before carving to keep juices from running out of the meat. Keeping the juices in the meat will make it more tender and juicy.
To roast vegetables:
Chop vegetables into uniform sizes, usually about a 1-inch cube.
Combine with olive oil and the herbs and spices desired. Coating the vegetables with oil will help reduce the amount of moisture that escapes. Dried out vegetables are not as delicious and savory as those that retain their moisture. The oil also helps them not stick to the pan or to each other. Put coated vegetables on a baking sheet. Don't crowd; they should be in a single layer. Crowding them steams them rather than roasting them and they lose that roasted flavor and texture.
Position the vegetables near the edge of the sheet. Those on the edge usually brown better, but it depends on the oven. If you are lucky enough to have a convection oven use it.
Stir your vegetables occasionally (about every 10-15 minutes). This will help them all cook properly and develop a delicious flavor. While a low to medium heat (200º-375º) is often preferred for meats because it helps their moisture and tenderness, it is best to use a high heat, (400º) and above to roast vegetables.
Benefits of Roasting:
- With many food items, you don't have to 'tend' them too much while they're roasting. They may only need to be stirred every 10-15 minutes. Roasting meat may be left alone for several hours. You can do other things while you are waiting for your food to roast.
- It brings out the sweet flavor of foods, particularly vegetables. Family members who think they hate vegetables may change their minds when they taste roasted ones!
- Roasting enhances the color of many foods.
Best Foods to Roast:
While roasting brings out the best flavor in many foods, some vegetables are especially amazing when roasted: summer squash, asparagus, garlic, and root vegetables including rutabagas, potatoes, turnips, beets, and carrots. Try seasoning vegetables with your favorite spice blend for different flavors.