Posts Tagged ‘chicken’
1 chicken, cut up
1/2 lb. salt pork
1 cup milk, or half milk, half cream
1 tbs. flour
1 tbs. butter
Cut up half a pound of fat salt pork in a frying-pan, and fry until the grease is extracted, but not until it browns. Wash and cut up a young chicken (broiling size), soak in salt and water for half an hour; wipe dry, season with pepper and dredge with flour; then fry in the hot fat until each piece is a rich brown on both sides. Take up, drain, and set aside in a hot covered dish.
Pour into the gravy left in the frying-pan a cup of milk–half cream is better; thicken with a spoonful of flour and a table-spoonful of butter; add some chopped parsley, boil up, and pour over the hot chicken. This is a standard dish in the Old Dominion, and tastes nowhere else as it does when eaten on Virginia soil. The cream-gravy is often omitted, and the chicken served up dry, with bunches of fried parsley dropped upon it.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Half a pound of lard (which is essentially what salt pork is, you are just doing the “rendering” process in miniature in the frying pan) would probably horrify a modern dietician, but it is unquestionably the way to produce the world’s best fried chicken. Let your conscience, your waistline, and (sigh) your most recent cholesterol readings be your guide as to how often you wish to partake of this delight. The gravy, of course, is where the true wickedness comes from, but once again, you will never taste better in your life. If you wish to feel virtuous, you may omit the step of frying the parsley and strew it over the chicken in its fresh green state.
2 small (“spring” or fryer sized) chickens, cut up
Lard or oil for frying
Sprigs of parsley
Clean, wash and cut to pieces a couple of Spring chickens. Have ready in a frying-pan enough boiling lard or dripping to cover them well. Dip each piece in beaten egg when you have salted it, then in cracker-crumbs, and fry until brown. If the chicken is large, steam it before frying. When you have taken out the meat, throw into the hot fat a dozen sprigs of parsley, and let them remain a minute–just long enough to crisp, but not dry them. Garnish the chicken by strewing these over it.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: We see here two interesting 19th century frying practices, both now pretty well obsolete. The first is frying in “drippings,” the fat left over from an earlier cut of meat which was roasted or baked. Such fats were in the past always saved after being strained of burnable bits of meat and used in either future frying or the production of pastries and pie crusts.
The second is the practice of deep-frying fresh parsley for use as a garnish. Why a perfectly attractive and harmless herb was thought to be improved by this practice is entirely unclear and we cannot count its demise as a setback to culinary progress.
1 chicken (any gender)
1/2 large onion
1 whole clove
Sir Kenelm Digby, in his “Closet of Cookery,”, p. 149, London, 1669, informs us, was made with “a brawny hen, or young cock, a handful of parsley, one sprig of thyme, three of spearmint, a little balm, half a great onion, a little pepper and salt, and a clove, with as much water as will cover them; and this is boiled to less than a pint for one good porrigerful.” Also known as “Bouillon de Sante.”
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: This would indeed be a breakfast dish suited for a queen, as only someone of that level of wealth could afford to cook a whole chicken just for a porriger’s worth of broth. A “porriger” we should add, is a sort of cross between a wide-mouthed cup and a small bowl, often with a little ear or handle on one or both sides. While intended for one’s morning porridge they are also made for every use from drinking whiskey to dispensing cat food. In any case we hope the servants at least got to eat the leftover chicken.
2 young chickens
Cold boiled ham, sliced thick
Stuffing for chickens
1 tbs. browned flour
Draw, wash and stuff a pair of young fowls, Cut enough large, thick slices of cold boiled ham to envelop these entirely, wrapping them up carefully, and winding a string about all, to prevent the ham from falling off. Put into your dripping-pan, with a little water to prevent scorching; dashing it over the meat lest it should dry and shrink. Invert a tin pan over all, and bake slowly for one hour and a quarter, if the fowls are small and tender–longer, if tough.
Lift the cover from time to time to baste with the drippings–the more frequently as time wears on. Test the tenderness of the fowls, by sticking a fork through the ham into the breast. When done, undo the strings, lay the fowls in a hot dish, and the slices of ham about them. Stir into the dripping a little chopped parsley, a tablespoonful of browned flour wet in cold water; pepper, and let boil up once. Pour some of it over the chickens–not enough to float the ham in the dish; serve the rest in a gravy-boat.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: The convoluted directions about dripping-pans, inverted tin pans, etc., reflects the fact that the majority of households still did their cooking in front of an open-fire hearth. Directions for a modern oven would just be to put this in a covered pan and bake.
As previously-cooked ham dries out with great speed, heed Mrs. Cornelius’ advice about frequent basting. The note advising placement of the meat “on a hot dish” is very common in recipes of the period. Central heating was as yet unknown, so rooms tended to be much colder in winter than is common today. Additionally, the kitchen was often some distance from the dining area so as to avoid the reverse problem of overheating in the summer.
Therefore a meat sizzling hot from the hearth but put onto a cold dish in the wintertime was apt to be barely warm before it ever reached the dining room, and stone cold by the time it got to the diners’ plates. A domed lid over the serving dishes, today considered just a sign of ostentation, was another means of dealing with this problem.
1 young fowl
Oysters (enough to fill the cavity of the fowl)
White Sauce (if desired)
Take a young fowl, fill the inside with oysters, put it into a jar, and plunge the jar in a kettle or saucepan of water. Boil it for one hour and a half. There will be a quantity of gravy from the juices of the fowl and oysters in the jar; make it into a white sauce, with the addition of egg, cream, or a little flour and butter; add oysters to it, or serve up plain with the fowl…the dish loses nothing of its delicacy and simplicity.
From Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, reader- contributed recipe from the issue of January, 1861.
Comment: This is perhaps the only recipe of either past or present time which we have seen call for cooking a bird in what amounts to a double boiler. The technique was used on smaller cuts of beef or poultry to produce the substance known as “meat tea,” often used as a therapeutic agent in cases of illness or injury. It is difficult to see how a bird, even a “young’ and presumably small one, can be cooked through with this procedure in the amount of time given. It would seem just as quick and a great deal safer to simply roast the creature, stuffed as indicated and with sauce made as directed with the pan juices.