First be very careful to singe off all down by holding over a blazing paper, or a little alcohol burning in a saucer. Cut off the feet and ends of the wings, and the neck as far as it is dark. If the fowl is killed at home, be sure that the head is chopped off, and never allow the neck to be wrung as is often done. It is not only an unmerciful way of killing, but the blood has thus no escape, and settles about all the vital organs. The head should be cut off, and the body hang and bleed thoroughly before using.
Pick out all the pin-feathers with the blade of a small knife. Turn back the skin of the neck, loosening it with the finger and thumb, and draw out the windpipe and crop, which can be done without making any cut. Now cut a slit in the lower part of the fowl, the best place being close to the thigh. By working the fingers in slowly, keeping them close to the body, the whole intestines can be removed in a mass. Be especially careful not to break the gall-bag, which is near the upper part of the breastbone, and attached to the liver. If this operation is carefully performed, it will be by no means so disagreeable as it seems. A French cook simply wipes out the inside, considering that much flavor is lost by washing. I prefer to wash in one water, and dry quickly, though in the case of an old fowl, which often has a strong smell, it is better to dissolve a teaspoonful of soda in the first water, which should be warm, and wash again in cold, then wiping dry as possible. Split and wash the gizzard, reserving it for gravy.
DRESSING FOR POULTRY.
One pint of bread or cracker crumbs, into which mix dry one teaspoonful of pepper, one of thyme or summer savory, one even tablespoonful of salt, and, if in season, a little chopped parsley. Melt a piece of butter the size of an egg in one cup of boiling water, and mix with the crumbs, adding one or two well-beaten eggs. A slice of salt pork chopped fine is often substituted for the butter.
For ducks two onions are chopped fine, and added to the above; or a potato dressing is made, as for geese, using six large boiled potatoes, mashed hot, and seasoned with an even tablespoonful of salt, a teaspoonful each of sage and pepper, and two chopped onions.
Game is usually roasted unstuffed; but grouse and prairie-chickens may have the same dressing as chickens and turkeys, this being used also for boiled fowls.
Prepare by cleaning, as in general directions above, and, when dry, rub the inside with a teaspoonful of salt. Put the gizzard, heart, and liver on the fire in a small saucepan, with one quart of boiling water and one teaspoonful of salt, and boil two hours. Put a little stuffing in the breast, and fold back the skin of the neck, holding it with a stitch or with a small skewer. Put the remainder in the body, and sew it up with darning-cotton. Cross and tie the legs down tight, and run a skewer through the wings to fasten them to the body. Lay it in the roasting-pan, and for an eight-pound turkey allow not less than three hours' time, a ten or twelve pound one needing four. Put a pint of boiling water with one teaspoonful of salt in the pan, and add to it as it dries away. Melt a heaping tablespoonful of butter in the water, and baste very often. The secret of a handsomely-browned turkey, lies in this frequent basting. Dredge over the flour two or three times, as in general roasting directions, and turn the turkey so that all sides will be reached. When done, take up on a hot platter. Put the baking-pan on the stove, having before this chopped the gizzard and heart fine, and mashed the liver, and put them in the gravy-tureen. Stir a tablespoonful of brown flour into the gravy in the pan, scraping up all the brown, and add slowly the water in which the giblets were boiled, which should be about a pint. Strain on to the chopped giblets, and taste to see if salt enough. The gravy for all roast poultry is made in this way. Serve with cranberry sauce or jelly.
ROAST OR BOILED CHICKENS.
Stuff and truss as with turkeys, and to a pair of chickens weighing two and a half pounds each, allow one hour to roast, basting often, and making a gravy as in preceding receipt.
Boil as in rule for turkeys.
After cleaning, stuff as in rule given for poultry dressing, and roast,—if game, half an hour; if tame, one hour, making gravy as in directions given, and serving with currant jelly.
No fat save its own is needed in basting a goose, which, if large, requires two hours to roast. Skim off as much fat as possible before making the gravy, as it has a strong taste.
Small birds may simply be washed and wiped dry, tied firmly, and roasted twenty minutes, dredging with flour, basting with butter and water, and adding a little currant jelly or wine to the gravy. They may be served on toast.
Cut the chicken into nice pieces for serving. Roll in flour, or, if preferred, in beaten egg and crumbs. Heat a cupful of nice dripping or lard; add a teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper; lay in the pieces, and fry brown on each side, allowing not less than twenty minutes for the thickest pieces and ten for the thin ones. Lay on a hot platter, and make a gravy by adding one tablespoonful of flour to the fat, stirring smooth, and adding slowly one cupful of boiling water or stock. Strain over the chicken. Milk or cream is often used instead of water.
Fry one or two chickens as above, using only flour to roll them in. Three or four slices of salt pork may be used, cutting them in bits, and frying brown, before putting in the chicken. When fried, lay the pieces in a saucepan, and cover with warm water, adding one teaspoonful of salt and a saltspoonful of pepper. Cover closely, and stew one hour, or longer if the chickens are old. Take up the pieces, and thicken the gravy with one tablespoonful of flour, first stirred smooth in a little cold water. Or the flour may be added to the fat in the pan after frying, and water enough for a thin gravy, which can all be poured into the saucepan, though with this method there is more danger of burning. If not dark enough, color with a teaspoonful of caramel. By adding a chopped onion fried in the fat, and a teaspoonful of curry-powder, this becomes a curry, to be served with boiled rice.
Cut up the chicken as in brown fricassee, and stew without frying for an hour and a half, reducing the water to about one pint. Take up the chicken on a hot platter. Melt one tablespoonful of butter in a saucepan, and add a heaping tablespoonful of flour, stirring constantly till smooth. Pour in slowly one cup of milk, and, as it boils and thickens, add the chicken broth, and serve. This becomes a pot-pie by adding biscuit-crust as in rule for veal pot-pie, p. 150, and serving in the same way. The same crust may also be used with a brown fricassee, but is most customary with a white.
Make a fricassee, as above directed, either brown or white, as best liked, and a nice pie-crust, as on p. 224, or a biscuit-crust if pie-crust is considered too rich. Line a deep baking-dish with the crust; a good way being to use a plain biscuit-crust for the lining, and pie-crust for the lid. Lay in the cooked chicken; fill up with the gravy, and cover with pastry, cutting a round hole in the centre; and bake about three-quarters of an hour. The top can be decorated with leaves made from pastry, and in this case will need to have a buttered paper laid over it for the first twenty minutes, that they need not burn. Eat either cold or hot. Game pies can be made in the same way, and veal is a very good substitute for chicken. Where veal is used, a small slice of ham may be added, and a little less salt; both veal and ham being cut very small before filling the pie.
Clean, stuff, and truss the fowl selected, as for a roasted turkey. The body is sometimes filled with oysters. To truss in the tightest and most compact way, run a skewer under the leg-joint between the leg and the thigh, then through the body and under the opposite leg-joint in the same way; push the thighs up firmly close to the sides; wind a string about the ends of the skewer, and tie it tight. Treat the wings in the same way, though in boiled fowls the points are sometimes drawn under the back, and tied there. The turkey may be boiled with or without cloth around it. In either case use boiling water, salted as for stock, and allow twenty minutes to the pound. It is usually served with oyster sauce, but parsley or capers may be used instead.
Take all the meat from a cold roast or boiled chicken, and chop moderately fine. Mince an onion very small, and fry brown in a piece of butter the size of an egg. Add one small cup of stock or water; one saltspoonful each of pepper and mace; one teaspoonful of salt; the juice of half a lemon; two well-beaten eggs; and, if liked, a glass of wine. Make into small rolls like corks, or mold in a pear shape, sticking in a clove for the stem when fried. Roll in sifted cracker-crumbs; dip in an egg beaten with a spoonful of water, and again in crumbs; put in the frying-basket, and fry in boiling lard. Drain on brown paper, and pile on a napkin in serving.
A more delicate croquette is made by using simply the white meat, and adding a set of calf's brains which have been boiled in salted water. A cupful of boiled rice mashed fine is sometimes substituted for the brains. Use same seasoning as above, adding quarter of a saltspoonful of cayenne, omitting the wine, and using instead half a cup of cream or milk. Fry as directed. Veal croquettes can hardly be distinguished from those of chicken.
PHILADELPHIA CHICKEN CROQUETTES.
The croquette first given is dry when fried, and even the second form is somewhat so, many preferring them so. For the creamy delicious veal, sweetbread, or chicken croquette one finds in Philadelphia, the following materials are necessary: one pint of hot cream; two even tablespoonfuls of butter; four heaping tablespoonfuls of sifted flour; half a teaspoonful of salt; half a saltspoonful of white pepper; a dust of cayenne; half a teaspoonful of celery salt; and one teaspoonful of onion juice. Scald the cream in a double boiler. Melt the butter in an enameled or granite saucepan, and as it boils, stir in the flour, stirring till perfectly smooth. Add the cream very slowly, stirring constantly as it thickens, adding the seasoning at the last. An egg may also be added, but the croquettes are more creamy without it. To half a pound of chicken chopped fine, add one teaspoonful of lemon juice and one of minced parsley, one beaten egg and the pint of cream sauce. Spread on a platter to cool, and when cool make into shapes, either corks or like pears; dip in egg and crumbs, and fry in boiling fat. Oyster, sweetbread, and veal croquettes are made by the same form, using a pint of chopped oysters. To the sweetbreads a small can of mushrooms may be added cut in bits.
SALMI OF DUCKS OR GAME.
Cut the meat from cold roast ducks or game into small bits. Break the bones and trimmings, and cover with stock or cold water, adding two cloves, two pepper-corns, and a bay-leaf or pinch of sweet herbs. Boil till reduced to a cupful for a pint of meat. Mince two small onions fine, and fry brown in two tablespoonfuls of butter; then add two tablespoonfuls of flour and stir till deep brown, adding to it the strained broth from the bones. Put in the bits of meat with one tablespoonful of lemon juice and one of Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for fifteen minutes, and at the last add, if liked, six or eight mushrooms and a glass of claret. Serve on slices of fried bread, and garnish with fried bread and parsley.
CASSEROLE OF RICE AND MEAT.
This can be made of any kind of meat, but is nicest of veal or poultry. Boil a large cup of rice till tender, and let it cool. Chop fine half a pound of meat, and season with half a teaspoonful of salt, a small grated onion, and a teaspoonful of minced parsley and a pinch of cayenne. Add a teacupful of cracker crumbs and a beaten egg, and wet with stock or hot water enough to make it pack easily. Butter a tin mould, quart size best, and line the bottom and sides with rice about half an inch thick. Pack in the meat; cover with rice, and steam one hour. Loosen at edges; turn out on hot platter, and pour tomato sauce around it.
This is a favorite dish in the writer's family, having been sent many years ago from Italy by a friend who had learned its composition from her Italian cook. Its name was bestowed by the children of the house. One large cup of chopped meat; two onions minced and fried brown in butter; a pint of cold boiled macaroni or spaghetti; a pint of fresh or cold stewed tomatoes; one teaspoonful of salt; half a teaspoonful of white pepper. Butter a pudding dish, and put first a layer of macaroni, then tomato, then meat and some onion and seasoning, continuing this till the dish is full. Cover with fine bread crumbs, dot with bits of butter, and bake for half an hour. Serve very hot.
For this purpose use either the knuckle or any odds and ends remaining. Cut off all dark or hard bits, and see that at least a quarter of the amount is fat. Chop as finely as possible, reducing it almost to a paste. For a pint-bowl of this, make a dressing as follows:—
One even tablespoonful of sugar; one even teaspoonful of ground mustard; one saltspoonful of cayenne pepper; one spoonful of butter; one teacupful of boiling vinegar. Mix the sugar, mustard, and pepper thoroughly, and add the vinegar little by little. Stir it into the chopped ham, and pack it in small molds, if it is to be served as a lunch or supper relish, turning out upon a small platter and garnishing with parsley.
For sandwiches, cut the bread very thin; butter lightly, and spread with about a teaspoonful of the deviled ham. The root of a boiled tongue can be prepared in the same way. If it is to be kept some time, pack in little jars, and pour melted butter over the top.
This is a delicate dish, and is usually regarded as an impossibility for any ordinary housekeeper; and unless one is getting up a supper or other entertainment, it is hardly worth while to undertake it. If the legs and wings are left on, the boning becomes much more difficult. The best plan is to cut off both them and the neck, boiling all with the turkey, and using the meat for croquettes or hash.
Draw only the crop and windpipe, as the turkey is more easily handled before dressing. Choose a fat hen turkey of some six or seven pounds weight, and cut off legs up to second joint, with half the wings and the neck. Now, with a very sharp knife, make a clean cut down the entire back, and holding the knife close to the body, cut away the flesh, first on one side and then another, making a clean cut around the pope's nose. Be very careful, in cutting down the breastbone, not to break through the skin. The entire meat will now be free from the bones, save the pieces remaining in legs and wings. Cut out these, and remove all sinews. Spread the turkey skin-side down on the board. Cut out the breasts, and cut them up in long, narrow pieces, or as you like. Chop fine a pound and a half of veal or fresh pork, and a slice of fat ham also. Season with one teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful each of mace and pepper, half a saltspoonful of cayenne, and the juice of lemon. Cut half a pound of cold boiled smoked tongue into dice. Make layers of this force-meat, putting half of it on the turkey and then the dice of tongue, with strips of the breast between, using force meat for the last layer. Roll up the turkey in a tight roll, and sew the skin together. Now roll it firmly in a napkin, tying at the ends and across in two places to preserve the shape. Cover it with boiling water, salted as for stock, putting in all the bones and giblets, and two onions stuck with three cloves each. Boil four hours. Let it cool in the liquor. Take up in a pan, lay a tin sheet on it, and press with a heavy weight. Strain the water in which it was boiled, and put in a cold place.
Next day take off the napkin, and set the turkey in the oven a moment to melt off any fat. It can be sliced and eaten in this way, but makes a handsomer dish served as follows:
Remove the fat from the stock, and heat three pints of it to boiling-point, adding two-thirds of a package of gelatine which has been soaked in a little cold water. Strain a cupful of this into some pretty mold,—an ear of corn is a good shape,—and the remainder in two pans or deep plates, coloring each with caramel,—a teaspoonful in one, and two in the other. Lay the turkey on a small platter turned face down in a larger one, and when the jelly is cold and firm, put the molded form on top of it. Now cut part of the jelly into rounds with a pepper-box top or a small star-cutter, and arrange around the mold, chopping the rest and piling about the edge, so that the inner platter or stand is completely concealed. The outer row of jelly can have been colored red by cutting up, and boiling in the stock for it, half of a red beet. Sprigs of parsley or delicate celery-tops may be used as garnish, and it is a very elegant-looking as well as savory dish. The legs and wings can be left on and trussed outside, if liked, making it as much as possible in the original shape; but it is no better, and much more trouble.
Tenderness is no object here, the most ancient dweller in the barnyard answering equally well, and even better than "broilers."
Draw carefully, and if the fowl is old, wash it in water in which a spoonful of soda has been dissolved, rinsing in cold. Put on in cold water, and season with a tablespoonful of salt and a half teaspoonful of pepper. Boil till the meat slips easily from the bones, reducing the broth to about a quart. Strain, and when cold, take off the fat. Where any floating particles remain, they can always be removed by laying a piece of soft paper on the broth for a moment. Cut the breast in long strips, and the rest of the meat in small pieces. Boil two or three eggs hard, and when cold, cut in thin slices. Slice a lemon very thin. Dissolve half a package of gelatine in a little cold water; heat the broth to boiling-point, and add a saltspoonful of mace, and if liked, a glass of sherry, though it is not necessary, pouring it on the gelatine. Choose a pretty mold, and lay in strips of the breast; then a layer of egg-slices, putting them close against the mold. Nearly fill with chicken, laid in lightly; then strain on the broth till it is nearly full, and set in a cold place. Dip for an instant in hot water before turning out. It is nice as a supper or lunch dish, and very pretty in effect.
THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes