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What is the difference between roasting and pot-roasting?

Pot-roasting is not really roasting at all, but an old, economical way of baking food in a pot, either over a low heat or in the oven. Roasting proper is a faster, dry method, used for cooking choice, tender cuts of meat, poultry and sometimes game. Pot-roasting is used for cheaper cuts that are cooked in their own juices and it could be considered a simpler version of braising. The meat is first browned in oil or butter to give a 'roasted' appearance and then cooked with little or no extra liquid in a casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Moisture from the meat provides the liquid during cooking, though with poultry a few spoons of liquid are usually added after browning.

A traditional technique in pot-roasting is to cook the browned meat on a piece of pork rind. This adds flavor and richness, and prevents the meat scorching on the bottom of the pot. Coarsely cut root vegetables are sometimes put under the meat for the same purpose. They can be raw, or browned in the same fat as the meat, though the meat should be removed while you are browning the vegetables. When cooked, the vegetables are served alongside the meat.

For more tender and subtly flavored meats, try this variation on pot-roasting that could be called 'gentle roasting'. Small cuts, such as best ends of lamb or even whole small birds, are seasoned, rubbed with butter and set on a bed of root vegetables in a deep pot with a lid. The lid is removed in the later stages of cooking to brown the meat lightly, and a sauce is made by pouring off the fat and adding a good stock and some wine or spirit to the meat juices. The sauce is then simmered and thickened with arrowroot if necessary.

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