Pheasants, partridges, quails, grouse, plovers, etc, are excellent stuffed with chesnuts: boiled, peeled, and mashed or pounded. Cover the birds with very thin slices of cold ham; then enclose them in vine-leaves tied on securely so as to keep in the gravy. Lay them in a deep dish, and bake them in a close oven that has nothing else in it, (for instance an iron dutch oven,) that the game may imbibe no other flavour. When done, remove the ham and the vine leaves, and dish the birds with the gravy that is about them.
Pheasants are unfit to eat after the first snow, as they then, for want of other food, are apt to feed on wild laurel berries, which give their flesh a disagreeably bitter taste, and are said to have sometimes produced deleterious effects on persons who have eaten it.
Take two dozen reed-birds, (or other nice small birds,) and truss them as if for roasting. Put into each a button-mushroom; of which you should have a heaping pint after the stalks are all removed. Put the birds, and the remaining mushrooms into a stew-pan. Season them with a very little salt and pepper, and add either a quarter of a pound of fresh butter (divided into four, and slightly rolled in flour) or a pint of rich cream. If cream is not plenty, you may use half butter and half cream, well mixed together. Cover the stew-pan closely, and set it over a moderate fire, to stew gently till the birds and mushrooms are thoroughly done and tender all through. Do not open the lid to stir the stew; but give the pan, occasionally, a hard shake. Have ready on a dish a thin slice of buttered toast with the crust all cut off. When done, lay the birds on the toast with the mushrooms all round.
If you cannot get button-mushrooms, divide large ones into quarters.
Plovers are very nice stewed with mushrooms.
Having roasted some reed-birds, larks, plovers, or any other small birds, such as are usually eaten, mash some potatoes with butter or cream. Spread the mashed potatoe thickly over the bottom, sides, and edges of a deep dish. Nick or crimp the border of potatoe that goes round the edge; or scollop it with a tin cutter. You may, if you choose, brown it by holding over it a salamander, or a red-hot shovel. Then lay the roasted birds in the middle of the dish, and stick round them and among them, very thickly a sufficient number of sprigs of curled or double parsley.
Rub the inside of a deep dish with two ounces of fresh butter, and spread over it two ounces of vermicelli. Then line the dish with puff-paste. Have ready some birds seasoned with powdered nutmeg and a very little salt and pepper. Place them with their breasts downward. They will be much improved by putting into each a mushroom or an oyster chopped fine. Lay them on the paste. Add some gravy of roast veal, (cold gravy saved from veal roasted the preceding day will do very well,) and cover the pie with a lid of puff-paste. Bake it in a moderate oven, and when done, turn it out carefully upon a flat dish, and send it to table. The vermicelli which was originally at the bottom, will now be at the top, covering the paste like thatch upon a roof. Trim off the edges so as to look nicely. You may, if you choose, use a larger quantity of vermicelli. The yellow sort will be best for this purpose.