In choosing a turkey, the young cock bird is to be preferred; the best have black legs, and if young, the toes and bill are pliable and feel soft. A hen turkey is chosen by the same rules.
Fowls with black legs are the best; if fresh, the vent is close and dark; if young, the combs are bright in the color, and the legs smooth - the spurs of a young cock are short.
A goose, if young and fine, is plump in the breast, the fat white and soft, the feet yellow, and but few hairs upon them.
Ducks may be chosen by the same rules, and are hard and thick on the breast and belly.
Pigeons should be quite fresh, the breast plump and fat, the feet elastic, and neither flabby nor discolored at the vent.
To prepare a turkey for dressing, every plug is carefully picked out; and in drawing turkeys and fowls, care must be taken not to break the gall bag, nor the gut which joins the gizzard, as it is impossible to remove the bitterness of the one, or the gritti-ness of the other. The hairs are singed off with white paper; the leg-bone is broken close to the foot, and the sinews draw a our - a cloth is then put over the breast, and the bone flattened with a rolling-pin, the liver and gizzard, made delicately clean, are fastened into each pinion. A stuffing made with sausage meat, adding some grated bread, and mixing it with the beaten yolks of two eggs, or a stuffing as for a fillet of veal, is then put into the breast, and the turkey, well rubbed over with flour, is put down to roast. It is basted constantly with butler, and when the steam draws towards the fire, it is nearly done; - it is then dredged with flour, and basted with more butter, served with gravy in the dish, and garnished with sausages, or with forcemeat balls if veal stuffing is used, and bread sauce in a sauce tureen.
To boil a turkey. After being nicely cleaned, it is trussed with the legs drawn in under the skin, stuffed with a forcemeat, as for veal, adding a few chopped oysters; then boiled in a well-floured cloth, and served with oyster, white or celery sauce, poured over it, and also some in a sauce tureen. Boiled ham, tongue, or pickled pork, is eaten with it. A large-sized turkey will require more than two hours to boil. Turkey, with celery sauce, is stuffed and trussed neatly, laid all over with slices of bacon, tied in a cloth, and boiled in water, with a little salt, butter, and lemon-juice added. It is served thickly covered with celery sauce.
Turkey poults are stuffed and roasted in the same manner as a full-grown turkey. They will require rather more than an hour to roast. They are dressed with the heads twisted under the wing, as are also turkeys sometimes, but it seems an injudicious custom, as the side on which the head is cannot be nicely browned, and in carving, the blood from the neck is apt to mingle with the gravy.
To roast a fowl. It is picked, nicely cleaned, and singed; the neck is cut off close by the back; the fowl is then washed, and if a large one, stuffed with forcemeat. It is trussed and dredged with flour; and when put down to roast, basted well with butter, and frothed up. When the steam is observed to draw towards the fire, it is sufficiently done; served with gravy in the dish, and bread sauce in a butter tureen. A good-sized fowl will require above an hour to roast.
Chickens are roasted as the above, and served with gravy in the dish, which is garnished with fried eggs, and bread sauce in a sauce tureen; they will require from half an hour to three-quarters to roast.
To boil a fowl. When nicely singed, washed, and trussed, it is well dredged with flour, and put on in boiling water, and if a large one, boiled nearly an hour. It is served with parsley and butter, white, or liver sauce.
Two boiled fowls, served with a tongue between them, make a handsome top dish.
Boiled chickens are improved by being stuffed, and will require nearly half an hour to boil.
To roast a goose. After being well cleaned, picked, and singed, it is washed, made perfectly dry, and stuffed -with about four table-spoonfuls of grated bread, an onion finely minced, together with three sage-leaves, seasoned with salt and pepper, and mixed with a well-beaten egg; or, the stuffing is made of boiled mashed potatoes, seasoned in the same way as the other, and mixed with a beaten egg. If roasted on a spit, each end is tied on tightly; it is basted at first with a little bit of butter, after which the fat that drops from it is used. It is served with gravy in the dish, and apple sauce in a sauce tureen. A large goose will require an hour and a half to roast. At table, an opening is cut in the apron, and a glass of Port wine, with which is mixed a large tea-spoonful of made mustard, is poured into the body of the goose. This is also an improvement to ducks.
A green goose, about two or three months old, is seasoned with pepper and salt only, and requires to be basted with butter. It requires about an hour to roast.
To roast ducks. They are nicely picked, cleaned, singed, and washed, seasoned with pepper and salt; or stuffed, and served with gravy, as directed in pp. 66, 67. A duck may be boiled for nearly an hour, and served with onion sauce poured over it.