Fowls have hard scaly feet, a hard breast bone, long hairs, a tough, thick skin, and the intestines are surrounded by fat.
Poultry must be prepared for cooking by careful cleaning and dressing. The following directions may be carried out:
Pick out all stray pin feathers. Singe the bird by holding it over a flame until the hairs are burned off. Slip the point of the wings behind the shoulder blades, to give steadiness to the body while working with it. Cut off the head, push back the skin, and cut the neck close to the body. Through the neck opening, loosen the crop from the skin which surrounds it. If the crop is full, lift it and cut the tube connecting it with the gizzard, reaching down between the breast bones as far as possible. An empty crop, loosened from the breast skin, may be drawn out with the intestines. If dressing a fowl, cut a lengthwise slit about one inch long in the skin of the leg just below the leg joint. Insert a skewer, and pick up the white tendons, one at a time, pulling each away from the hip toward the foot until it breaks loose. When all are loosened, cut around the leg through the skin just below the joint, bend the joint backward till it breaks, and cut through the cords to remove the leg. Cut a lengthwise slit through the skin and fat at the rear just below the breast bone and toward the vent. Cut around the vent. With the fowl lying on its back, insert the hand in this opening, passing it over the intestines, between them and the breast bone. Press the hand forward until the heart can be felt, curving the fingers around the internal organs including the heart; pull strongly, holding the fowl in place with the other hand, until the organs are drawn out. Slip the heart from its sack, and cut it free from its blood vessels. Cut the intestine close to the gizzard. Cut across the white tendon on one side of this, being very careful not to cut the inner lining, and turn the outer muscular coat inside out, away from the inner coat with its contents intact. With a sharp knife peel off the interlining, and cut away the outer tendons. Cut away the liver in two lobes, discarding the part discolored by the gall bladder. Be careful not to cut the latter. Should this occur, every part of the meat which has been touched by it must be cut away, after carefully washing the knife which cut it. The bitter taste is very persistent. Find the lungs, attached to the ribs on the upper side of the body near the head, and remove them carefully. A small amount left will cause discoloration and give an unpleasant flavor. Remove the very dark glands lying in hollows close to the backbone near the tail. Wipe the bird thoroughly, inside and out.
Chicken may be stuffed and roasted, but fowl should be stewed slowly for a long time, preferably in a fireless cooker.
To roast chicken.-Make a stuffing of dried breadcrumbs, moistened with as much milk as it will absorb and seasoned as desired with 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a little pepper, and sage or poultry seasoning to each cup of crumbs. Fill the crop region about two-thirds full, and tie the end of the skin of the neck. Fill the body region about two-thirds full, and fasten the opening by sticking tooth picks across it through both flaps of the skin, then lacing string across the tooth picks. Insert two long skewers through the chicken, one just beneath the legs, the other through the wings (now released from their position behind the shoulder blades) and the breast. Tie the legs together, and draw them down by means of the string to the tail, continuing the string to fasten around the skewers and the legs. Cross the strings over the back, and wind them around the skewers under the wings, tying them together over the back. Note that there is no string across the breast, and a fowl served breast side up, with the string removed, shows no mark of the string. Place the chicken in a covered roasting pan with a little water in the bottom. If the chicken is not very fat, butter or oil the skin, sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and flour, and bake it from 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a moderately hot oven. Wash the breast, gizzard, neck, and liver. Stew them in sufficient water to cover them, adding the liver after cooking the others an hour.
To stew chicken.-If chicken is to be cut up before being cooked, as in stewing, the dressing is much simplified. After cutting the lengthwise slit into the abdominal cavity, bend out the leg and cut the skin between it and the body, following the outline of the thigh up to the hip bone. The leg will separate from the body and when bent far enough back, the hip joint will break and the leg may be cut free. When both legs have been removed, lay them skin down and feel for the joint between the thigh and "drum stick." Cut across this through the tendon and break the joint, separating the two parts by cutting through the flesh. Cut from the mid point of the slit in the abdomen through the thin muscle which underlay the hip straight to the hip joint. Bend back the back of the chicken, breaking the backbone near this point. The organs may now easily be removed as before. Lift the wing, and cut from the under side up, dislocating the bone to find the joint. Note the cartilaginous joints in the ribs at each side, and cut through these regions to the shoulder, to separate the back from the breast, dislocating the shoulder blade from the breast bone at the forward end and cutting the two apart. Remove the lungs and glands. Wipe the fowl as before. Cook the giblets separately. Add enough boiling water just to cover the fowl, simmer it 15 minutes, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and place it in a fireless cooker for 5 or 6 hours. Remove it and if not yet tender, reheat it and cook it again. To serve meat cooked in this way, thicken the gravy and make dumplings, serving the meat in the gravy; or remove the meat, saute it, and serve the thickened gravy separately. The meat may be removed from the bones and skin and ground. The liquor may be cleared, well seasoned, and thickened with gelatin, using 1 tablespoon of gelatin to 1 pint of liquor. Stir in the meat as the gelatin begins to thicken, and serve it in slices, cold.