In choosing venison, the fat of that which is good is thick, clear, and bright; the clift part smooth and close. When the venison is perfectly fresh, it is hung in a cool place, and carefully wiped dry every day. When extreme tenderness is required from long keeping, but without its having a high flavor, it is well rubbed over with powdered charcoal.
The haunch is the prime joint, and when it is required to be roasted, it is first well washed in lukewarm milk-and-water, and then made quite dry before it is spitted. It is then covered with a sheet of well-buttered white paper, over which is laid a coarse paste of flour-and-water, about a quarter of an inch thick; this is again covered with buttered white paper, and tied on with packthread. A substantial fire being made, the haunch is put down, and constantly basted with fresh beef dripping, till nearly done, when the paste is taken off, the meat well basted with butter, and lightly dredged with flour, till it froths and becomes of a fine light brown color. It is served with its own gravy in the dish, if there be enough of it; also a sauce tureen of good brown gravy, and one of currant jelly sauce beat up, and melted with a little Port wine and sugar.
A large haunch takes about four hours to roast.
A neck and shoulder, when roasted, is managed in the same way as the haunch, omitting the paste; but it is more frequently used for soups, pasties, and collops.
When fresh, the body is stiff; and if young, the claws are smooth and sharp, the ears tender and easily torn. Hares are kept from a week to a fortnight for roasting; but for soup, they cannot have been too recently killed.
Rabbits are chosen by the same rules as hares.
Wild fowl, in general, is chosen by the same rules as tame poultry. The birds should be plump and fat, and hard in the vent. If the skin comes off when rubbed hard with the finger, they are stale. Old birds improve by keeping for sometime; young birds are best if dressed soon; and small birds, of all descriptions, should be immediately dressed. In warm weather, a stopper of charcoal should be put into the vent of all game, and a string tied lightly round the neck.
To roast pheasants and partridges, they are picked, cleaned, and nicely singed; a slit is made in the back part of the neck, and the craw taken out, leaving on the head, the feet twisted closely to the body, the claws cut off, and the head turned under the wing. Both sorts are roasted by the directions for roasting a turkey or a fowl. A pheasant is served with gravy in the dish; partridges with a gravy, or laid upon buttered toast, and melted butter poured round them. Bread sauce is served with both. A pheasant will require nearly an hour to roast; partridges half an hour. Guinea and pea-fowl are roasted in the same way as pheasants.
To roast black-cock, follow the directions for roasting pheasants and partridges; it will require an hour, and is served with gravy in the dish, and bread sauce in a sauce tureen.
Moorfowl are roasted in the same manner, and require three-quarters of an hour. They may be served upon buttered toast, or with gravy in the dish, and bread sauce in a sauce tureen.
To restore tainted game or poultry, pick it carefully, clean, and wash it, then put into each bird a little newly-made pounded charcoal, tied in a bit of muslin. Before serving, take out the bag, which will have a most offensive smell, while the bird will be left perfectly sweet.
It should be roasted by a quick fire, well basted with butter, and browned. It will require nearly three-quarters of an hour, and when to be served, some beef gravy is poured through the duck into the dish, and in a sauce tureen some hot Port wine is served. The carver makes four cuts along the breast, it is then sprinkled with salt and a little Cayenne, the juice of half a lemon is squeezed over it, and the Port wine is then poured all over.
Widgeons and teal are dressed in the same manner as the wild duck, and are roasted in ten minutes, and may be served upon fried bread crumbs.
Woodcocks and snipes are roasted without being drawn; a piece of toasted bread buttered is put under each bird, to catch the trail; they are well basted with butter, and served upon the hot toast over which they were roasted; a rich brown gravy, or melted butter, is poured round them. Wood cocks will require half an hour, snipes and quails fifteen or twenty minutes to roast.
Ortolans and green plovers are not drawn, and are roasted and served in the same manner as woodcocks.
To roast larks, wheatears, and oilier small birds, they are nicely picked, gutted, cleaned, and trussed; brushed over with melted butter, and rolled in grated bread, then spitted on a bird spit, which is fastened upon a larger one. They are basted with butter, and sprinkled with some bread crumbs. They will require nearly fifteen minutes to roast, and are served upon fried bread crumbs, and brown gravy in a sauce tureen.
Wild pigeons may be roasted, or made into a pie.
Plovers' eggs are boiled hard, and served in a napkin, or with green moss put round each in the dish.
Take four rabbits, four partridges, two pounds of veal, two pounds of steaks; put them into a stewpan, with a bottle of white wine; boil them until the whole is entirely reduced to a jelly; then add to it broth, and consomme, (equal quantities of each), eight carrots, ten onions, three cloves, a little thyme and basil; let the whole boil very gently, until the meat is quite done; then strain it through a napkin. No salt need be put into it, as the broth and consomme are sufficiently seasoned to flavor the essence of game.
Take any of those parts of cold roasted game, which can be cut into thin slices, dip them into good batter, and fry them in olive oil, or lard. Sprinkle the fritters when done, with salt and spices, pounded very fine.