When a cock is young, his spurs are short; take care that you are not deceived by their having been cut or pared, a trick that is often practised. If fresh their vent will be close and dark. Hens are best, just before they begin to lay, and yet are full of egg; if they are old, their combs and legs are rough.
All poultry should be very carefully picked, every plug removed, and the hair nicely singed with paper.
The cook should be careful in drawing poultry of all sorts, not to break the gall-bag, for no washing will take off the bitter where it lias touched.
If for roasting, black-legged fowls are the most moist. A good-sized fowl will take from three-quarters of an hour to an hour in roasting, a middling-sized one about half an hour, and a very small one, or chicken, twenty minutes.
Tame fowls require more roasting, and are longer in heating through than others. All sorts should be continually basted, that they may be served with a froth, and appear of a fine color. The fire must be very quick and clear before any fowls are put down. Serve with egg sauce, bread sauce, or garnished with sausages or scalded parsley.
A large barn-door fowl, well hung, should be stuffed in the crop with sausage-meat, and served with gravy in the dish, and with bread sauce.
The head should be turned under the wing, like a turkey.
For boiling, choose those that are not dack-legged; pick them carefully, singe, wash, and truss them. Flour them, and put them in boiling water; a good-sized one will be done in half an hour.
Fowls are trussed in the same manner as chickens. (See Chickens).
Chickens or fowls should be killed at least one or two days before they are to be dressed.
Turkeys (especially large ones) should not be dressed till they have been killed three or four days at least, in cold weather six or eight, or they will neither look white nor eat tender.
Turkeys, and large fowls, should have the strings or sinews of the thighs drawn out.
Truss them with the legs outward, they are much easier carvedt
Make a forcemeat of grated bread, half its quantity of minced suet, an onion, or a few oysters, and some boiled parsley, season with pepper, salt, and grated lemon-peel, and an egg beaten up to bind it. Bone the breast of a good-sized young fowl, put in the forcemeat, cover the fowl with a piece of white paper buttered, and roast it rather more than half an hour; have ready a thick batter made of flour, milk, and eggs, take off the paper, and pour some of the hatter over the fowl; as soon as it becomes dry add more, and do this till it is all crusted over, and of a nice brown color; serve it with melted butter and lemon pickle, or a thickened brown gravy.
Stew a fowl in some well-skimmed clear mutton broth, and seasoned with onion, mace, pepper, and salt. About half an hour before it is ready, put in a quarter of a pint of rice well washed and soaked. Simmer till tender; then strain it from the broth, and put the rice on a sieve before the fire. Keep the fowl hot, lay it in the middle of a dish, and the rice round it without the broth. The less liquor the fowl is done with, the better. Serve with gravy, or parsley and butter for sauce.