They are generally split open at the back and broiled, rubbing them with butter; yet as all but the breast is generally tough, it is better to fillet the chicken, or cut out the breast. The remainder of the chicken is cut into joints and parboiled. These pieces are then broiled with the breasts (which, please remember, are not parboiled) after rubbing butter over them all. As soon as they are all broiled, sprinkle pepper and salt, and put a little lump of butter, on top of each piece, which then place for a few moments in the oven to soak the butter. Serve with currant-jelly. For fine entertainments the breasts alone are served. Each breast is cut into two pieces, so that one chicken is sufficient for four persons. If the dish is intended for breakfast, serve each piece of breast on a small square piece of fried mush (see receipt, page 73). If for dinner, serve each piece on a square of hot buttered toast, with a little currant-jelly on top of each piece of chicken. Garnish the plate with any kind of leaves, or with water-cresses. At a breakfast party I once saw this dish surrounded with Saratoga potatoes. The white potatoes, dark meat, and red jelly formed a pretty contrast.
To Choose a Young Prairie-chicken. Bend the under bill. If it is tender, the chicken is young.
Epicures think that grouse (in fact, all game) should not be too fresh. Do not wash them. Do not wash any kind of game or meat. If proper care be taken in dressing them they will be quite clean, and one could easily wash out all their blood and flavor. Put plenty of butter inside each chicken: this is necessary to keep it moist. Roast the grouse half an hour and longer, if liked thoroughly done; baste them constantly with butter. When nearly done, sprinkle over a little flour and plenty of butter to froth them. After having boiled the liver of the grouse, mince and pound it, with a little butter, pepper, and salt, until it is like a paste; then spread it over hot buttered toast. Serve the grouse on the toast, surrounded with water-cresses.
Dress and wipe them clean. Tie the legs close to the body; skin the heads and necks, and tie the beaks under the wing; tie, also, a very thin piece of bacon around the breast of each bird, and fry in boiling lard. It only requires a few moments - say two minutes -to cook them. Season and serve them on toast. Some pierce the legs with the beak of the bird, as in the cut.
The following is the epicure's manner of cooking them, not mine. Carefully pluck them, and take the skin off the heads and necks. Truss them with the head under the wing. Twist the legs at the first joint, pressing the feet against the thigh. Do not draw them. Now tie a thin slice of bacon around each; run a small iron skewer through the birds, and tie it to a spit at both ends. Roast them at a good fire, placing a dripping-pan, with buttered slices of toast under them, to catch the trail as it falls. Baste the snipe often with a paste-brush dipped in melted butter. Let them roast twenty minutes; then salt the birds, and serve them immediately on the pieces of toast.
Cut sweet-potatoes lengthwise; scoop out in the centre of each a place that will fit half the bird. Now put in the birds, after seasoning them with butter, pepper, and salt, tying the two pieces of potato around each of them. Bake them. Serve them in the potatoes. Or, they can be roasted or fried in boiling lard like other birds.
Plovers are cooked in the same way as quails or partridges.
Pheasants are cooked in the same way as prairie-chickens or grouse.