1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

1923 Cookbook Chapter on Poultry (Public Domain)

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by MamaDragon, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    I thought I'd pass this along to all the cooks here. It is a chapter from a set of Home Economics textbooks printed in 1923, and consisted of 5 volumes. If anyone is interested, Project Gutenberg has all 5 volumes. Unfortunately, they didn't keep the illustrations, so I had to remove all reference to those until I can locate a source for them.

    Anyone who wants to create Illustrations is welcome to do so, and we can add it into the appropriate section.

    I have NOT included all the recipes from this chapter, but I can add them back in if y'all are interested.

    Hope you all enjoy!



    Poultry as Food - #2
    Selection of Poultry - #3
    Classification of Poultry
    Influence of Feeding and Care on Quality
    Effect of Sex on Quality
    Preparation of Poultry for Market
    Cold Storage of Poultry
    Selection of Chicken - #4
    General Marks of Good Quality
    Determining the Age of Chicken
    Determining the Freshness of Chicken
    Live Chickens
    Selection of Poultry Other Than Chicken - #5
    Selection of Turkeys
    Selection of Ducks
    Selection of Geese
    Selection of Pigeons
    Selection of Guinea Fowls
    Selection of Pheasant, Partridge, and Quail
    Preparation of Chicken for Cooking - #6
    Dressing A Chicken
    Singeing A Chicken
    Drawing A Chicken
    Cutting Up A Chicken
    Boning A Chicken
    Preparing Chicken Feet
    Utilizing The Wing Tips
    Preparation of Poultry Other Than Chicken for Cooking - #7
    Preparation of Turkey
    Preparation of Duck and Goose
    Preparation of Small Birds
    Cooking of Poultry - #8
    Preparation by Broiling
    Preparation by Frying
    Preparation by Roasting
    Preparation by Stewing and Other Cooking Methods - #9
    Cooking of Giblets
    Serving and Carving of Poultry - #10

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  2. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    From the WOMAN'S INSTITUTE LIBRARY OF COOKERY, 1923 (source: Project Gutenberg)


    POULTRY is the term used to designate birds that have been domesticated, or brought under the control of man, for two purposes, namely, the eggs they produce and the flesh food they supply. All the common species of domestic fowls--chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowls, and pigeons--are known as poultry. However, none of these species is included under this term unless it is raised for at least one of the two purposes mentioned. As the term is to be understood in this Section, poultry includes all domestic fowls that are killed in order that their flesh may be cooked and used as food for human beings. Of course, many wild birds are killed for the flesh food they furnish, but they are classed under the term game.

    Poultry is probably never a necessity in the ordinary dietary, and when prices are high it is a decided luxury. Still it does aid materially in relieving the monotony of the usual protein foods, and it supplies that "something out of the ordinary" for special occasions. Then, too, it is often valuable in the diet of an invalid or some person with a poor appetite. Poultry is, of course, used more in some homes than in others; yet there is scarcely a home in which it is not served some time or another. A knowledge of this food and its preparation and serving will therefore prove to be a valuable asset to any housewife.

    To arrive at a knowledge of the use of poultry as a food, the housewife must necessarily become familiar with its selection and purchase. Then she must give attention to both its preparation for cooking and its actual cooking, and, finally, to its serving. In all these matters she will do well to adhere to the practice of economy, for, at best, poultry is usually an expensive food. Before entering into these matters in detail, however, it will be well to look into them in a general way.

    In the selection of poultry, the housewife should realize that poultry breeders have so developed certain breeds, even of the same species, that they are better for table use than others. The flesh of any breed of poultry may be improved by feeding the birds good food and giving them proper care; and it is by applying these principles that the breeders are enabled to better the quality of this food. Other things also influence the quality of poultry flesh as food, as, for example, the way in which the poultry is prepared for market and the care it receives in transportation and storage. Unless these are as they should be, they have a detrimental effect on poultry, because such food is decidedly perishable.

    It is possible to exercise economy in the purchase of poultry, but before the housewife can do this she must be able to judge the age of each kind she may desire. On the age depends to a great extent the method of cookery to be followed in preparing the poultry for the table. Likewise, she must know the marks of cold-storage poultry, as well as those of poultry that is freshly killed; and she must be familiar with the first marks of deterioration, or decay, that result from storing the food too long or improperly.
    Economy may also be practiced in preparing poultry for cooking. To bring this about, however, the housewife should realize that the best method of preparing any kind of poultry for cooking is always the most economical. It means, too, that she should understand thoroughly the methods of drawing and cutting, so that she may either do this work herself or direct it.

    The way in which poultry is cooked has a bearing on the cost of this food, too. For example, a young, tender bird prepared by a wrong method not only is a good dish spoiled, but is a waste of expensive material. Likewise, an older bird, which has more flavor but tougher tissues, is almost impossible as food if it is not properly prepared. Both kinds make appetizing dishes and do not result in waste if correct methods of cooking are followed in their preparation.

    Even the way in which poultry is served has a bearing on the cost of this food. For this reason, it is necessary to know how to carve, as well as how to utilize any of this food that may be left over, if the housewife is to get the most out of her investment.
  3. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR

    GENERAL INFORMATION.-- The selection of any kind of poultry to be used as food is a matter that should not be left to the butcher. Rather, it should be done by some one who understands the purpose for which the poultry is to be used, and, in the home, this is a duty that usually falls to the housewife. There are a number of general facts about poultry, and a knowledge of them will assist the housewife greatly in performing her tasks.

    CLASSIFICATION OF POULTRY.-- Poultry breeders and dealers divide the domestic fowls into three classes. In the first class are included those which have combs, such as chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowls. Quails and pheasants belong to this class also, but they are very seldom domesticated. The birds in this class are distinguished by two kinds of tissue--light meat on the breast and dark meat on the other parts of the body. In the second class are included those fowls which swim, such as ducks and geese. These are characterized by web feet and long thick bills, and their meat is more nearly the same color over the entire body. The third class is comprised of birds that belong to the family of doves. Pigeons, which are called squabs when used as food, are the only domesticated birds of this class. They stand between the other two classes with respect to their flesh, which has some difference in color between the breast and other muscles, but not so much as chicken and other fowls of the first class.

    INFLUENCE OF FEEDING AND CARE ON QUALITY.--To some extent, the breed affects the quality of poultry as food; still this is a far less important matter than a number of things that the purchaser is better able to judge. Among the factors that greatly influence the quality are the feeding and care that the birds receive up to the time of slaughter. These affect not only the flavor and the tenderness of the tissue, as well as the quantity of tissue in proportion to bone, but also the healthfulness of the birds themselves. To keep the birds in good health and to build up sufficient flesh to make them plump, with as much meat as possible on the bones and a fair amount of fat as well, the food they get must be clean and of the right kind. Likewise, the housing conditions must be such that the birds are kept dry and sufficiently warm. The living space, also, must be adequate for the number that are raised. Domestic fowls are not discriminating as to their food, and when they are forced to live in dirt and filth they will eat more or less of it and thus injure the quality of their flesh. Poultry that comes into the market looking drawn and thin, with blue-looking flesh and no fat, shows evidence of having had poor living conditions and inadequate feeding. Such poultry will be found to have a less satisfactory flavor than that which has received proper care.

    EFFECT OF SEX ON QUALITY.--When birds of any kind are young, sex has very little to do with the quality of the flesh. But as they grow older the flesh of males develops a stronger flavor than that of females of the same age and also becomes tougher. However, when birds, with the exception of mature ones, are dressed, it would take an expert to determine the sex. The mature male is less plump than the female, and it is more likely to be scrawny. Likewise, its spurs are larger and its bones are large in proportion to the amount of flesh on them.

    Very often the reproductive organs of young males are removed, and the birds are then called capons. As the capon grows to maturity, it develops more of the qualities of the hen. Its body becomes plump instead of angular, the quality of its flesh is much better than that of the cock, and the quantity of flesh in proportion to bone is much greater. In fact, the weight of a capon's edible flesh is much greater than that of either a hen or a cock. In the market, a dressed capon can usually be told by the long tail and wing feathers that are left on, as well as by a ring of feathers around the neck. Female birds that are spayed are called poulards. Spaying, or removing the reproductive organs, of female birds, however, makes so little improvement that it is seldom done.

    PREPARATION OF POULTRY FOR MARKET.--The manner in which poultry is prepared for market has a great bearing on its quality as food. In some cases, the preparation falls to the producer, and often, when birds are raised in quantities, they are sold alive and dressed by the butcher. However, poultry that is to be shipped long distances and in large quantities or stored for long periods of time is usually prepared at a slaughtering place. This process of slaughtering and shipping requires great care, for if attention is not given to details, the poultry will be in a state of deterioration when it reaches the consumer and therefore unfit for food.

    In order to avoid the deterioration of poultry that is slaughtered some distance from the place of its consumption, each bird is well fed up to within 24 hours before it is killed. Then it is starved so that its alimentary tract will be as empty as possible at the time of killing. Such birds are killed by cutting the large blood vessel running up to the head. When properly done, this method of killing allows almost all the blood to be drained from the body and the keeping qualities are much improved. At practically the same time, the brain is pierced by the knife thrust, and as soon as the bleeding commences the fowl becomes paralyzed. As the tissues relax, the feathers may be pulled easily from the skin without immersing the bird in hot water. This method of plucking, known as dry plucking, is preferable when the skin must be kept intact and the poultry kept for any length of time. The head and feet are left on and the entrails are not removed. The poultry is then chilled to the freezing point, but not below it, after which the birds are packed ten in a box and shipped to the market in refrigerator cars or placed in cold storage. Unless the poultry is to be cooked immediately after slaughter, such measures are absolutely necessary, as its flesh is perishable and will not remain in good condition for a long period of time.

    COLD-STORAGE POULTRY.--Poultry that has been properly raised, killed, transported, and stored is very likely to come into the market in such condition that it cannot be readily distinguished from freshly killed birds. When exposed to warmer temperatures, however, storage poultry spoils much more quickly than does fresh poultry. For this reason, if there is any evidence that poultry has been in storage, it should be cooked as soon as possible after purchase.

    There are really two kinds of cold-storage poultry: that which is kept at a temperature just above freezing and delivered within a few weeks after slaughtering, and that which is frozen and kept in storage a much longer time. When properly cared for, either one is preferable to freshly killed poultry that is of poor quality or has had a chance to spoil. Poultry that has been frozen must be thawed carefully. It should be first placed in a refrigerator and allowed to thaw to that temperature before it is placed in a warmer one. It should never be thawed by putting it into warm water. Thawing it in this way really helps it to decompose.

    A sure indication of cold-storage poultry is the pinched look it possesses, a condition brought about by packing the birds tightly against one another. Storage poultry usually has the head and feet left on and its entrails are not removed. Indeed, it has been determined by experiment that poultry will keep better if these precautions are observed. The removal of the entrails seems to affect the internal cavity of the bird so that it does not keep well, and as a matter of safety it should be cooked quickly after this has been done in the home.
  4. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR

    To be able to select chicken properly, the housewife must be familiar with the terms that are applied to chickens to designate their age or the cookery process for which they are most suitable. Chicken is a general name for all varieties of this kind of poultry, but in its specific use it means a common domestic fowl that is less than 1 year old. Fowl is also a general term; but in its restricted use in cookery it refers to the full-grown domestic hen or cock over 1 year of age, as distinguished from the chicken or pullet. A broiler is chicken from 2 to 4 months old which, because of its tenderness, is suitable for broiling. A frying chicken is at least 6 months old, and a roasting chicken is between 6 months and 1 year old. With these terms understood, it can readily be seen that if fried chicken is desired a 2-year-old fowl would not be a wise purchase.

    The quality of the bird is the next consideration in the selection of chicken. A number of things have a bearing on the quality. Among these, as has already been pointed out, are the feeding and care that the bird has received during its growth, the way in which it has been prepared for market, and so on. All of these things may be determined by careful observation before making a purchase. However, if the bird is drawn, and especially if the head and feet are removed, there is less chance to determine these things accurately.

    GENERAL MARKS OF GOOD QUALITY.--A chicken older than a broiler that has been plucked should not be scrawny nor drawn looking, nor should the flesh have a blue tinge that shows through the skin. Rather, it should be plump and well rounded. There should be a sufficient amount of fat to give a rich, yellow color. It should be plucked clean, and the skin should be clear and of an even color over the entire bird. Tender, easily broken skin indicates a young bird; tougher skin indicates an older one. The skin should be whole and unbroken; likewise, when pressed with the fingers, it should be neither flabby nor stiff, but pliable.

    The increase of age in a chicken is to some extent an advantage, because with age there is an increase in flavor. Thus, a year-old chicken will have more flavor than a broiler. However, after more than a year, the flavor increases to such an extent that it becomes strong and disagreeable. With the advance of age there is also a loss of tenderness in the flesh, and this after 1-1/2 or 2 years becomes so extreme as to render the bird almost unfit for use. As the age of a chicken increases, the proportion of flesh to bone also increases up to the complete maturity of the bird. Hence, one large bird is a more economical purchase than two small ones that equal its weight, because the proportion of bone to flesh is less in the large bird than in the small ones.

    DETERMINING THE AGE OF CHICKEN.--An excellent way in which to determine the age of a chicken that has been dressed consists in feeling of the breast bone at the point where it protrudes below the neck. In a very young chicken, a broiler, for instance, the point of this bone will feel like cartilage, which is firm, elastic tissue, and may be very easily bent. If the bird is about a year old, the bone will be brittle, and in a very old one it will be hard and will not bend.

    If the head has been left on, the condition of the beak is a means of determining age. In a young chicken, it will be smooth and unmarred; in an old one, it will be rough and probably darker in color. If the feet have been left on, they too will serve to indicate the age. The feet of a young chicken are smooth and soft; whereas, those of an old bird are rough, hard, and scaly. The claws of a young one are short and sharp; but as the bird grows older they grow stronger and become blunt and marred with use. The spur, which is a projection just above the foot on the back of each leg, is small in the young chicken, and increases in size as the age increases. However, the spurs are more pronounced in males than in females.

    Another way of telling the age of dressed chicken is to observe the skin. After plucking, young birds usually have some pin feathers left in the skin. Pin feathers are small unformed feathers that do not pull out with the larger ones. Older birds are usually free from pin feathers, but have occasional long hairs remaining in the skin after the feathers have been plucked. These do not pull out readily and must be singed off when the chicken is being prepared for cooking.

    DETERMINING THE FRESHNESS OF CHICKEN.--There are a number of points that indicate whether or not a chicken is fresh. In a freshly killed chicken, the feet will be soft and pliable and moist to the touch; also, the head will be unshrunken and the eyes full and bright. The flesh of such a chicken will give a little when pressed, but no part of the flesh should be softer than another. As actual decomposition sets in, the skin begins to discolor. The first marks of discoloration occur underneath the legs and wings, at the points where they are attached to the body. Any dark or greenish color indicates decomposition, as does also any slimy feeling of the skin. The odor given off by the chicken is also an indication of freshness. Any offensive odor, of course, means that the flesh has become unfit for food.

    LIVE CHICKENS.--Occasionally chickens are brought to the market and sold alive. This means, of course, that the birds are subjected to a certain amount of fright and needless cruelty and that the work of slaughtering falls to the purchaser. The cost, however, is decreased a few cents on the pound. Such birds must be chosen first of all by weight and then by the marks that indicate age, which have already been given.
  5. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR

    The determination of quality, especially freshness, is much the same for other kinds of poultry as it is for chicken. In fact, the same points apply in most cases, but each kind seems to have a few distinguishing features, which are here pointed out.

    SELECTION OF TURKEYS.--Turkeys rank next to chickens in popularity as food. They are native to America and are perhaps better known here than in foreign countries. Turkey is a much more seasonal food than chicken, it being best in the fall. Cold-storage turkey that has been killed at that time, provided it is properly stored and cared for, is better than fresh turkey marketed out of season.

    The age of a turkey can be fairly accurately told by the appearance of its feet. Very young turkeys have black feet, and as they mature the feet gradually grow pink, so that at more than 1 year old the feet will be found to be pink. However, as the bird grows still older, the color again changes, and a 3-year-old turkey will have dull-gray or blackish looking feet. The legs, too, serve to indicate the age of turkeys. Those of a young turkey are smooth, but as the birds grow older they gradually become rough and scaly. A young turkey will have spurs that are only slightly developed, whereas an old turkey will have long, sharp ones.

    Turkeys are seldom marketed when they are very young. But in spite of the fact that this is occasionally done, the mature birds are more generally marketed. Turkeys often reach a large size, weighing as much as 20 to 25 pounds. A mature turkey has proportionately a larger amount of flesh and a smaller amount of bone than chicken; hence, even at a higher price per pound, turkey is fully as economical as chicken.

    SELECTION OF DUCKS.--Ducks probably come next to turkeys in popularity for table use. Young ducks are sold in the market during the summer and are called spring duck. The mature ducks may be purchased at any time during the year, but they are best in the winter months.

    The flexibility of the windpipe is an excellent test for the age of ducks. In the young bird, the windpipe may be easily moved; whereas, in the old one, it is stationary and quite hard. The meat of ducks is dark over the entire bird, and the greatest amount is found on the breast. Its flavor is quite typical, and differs very much from turkey and chicken. However, there is a comparatively small amount of meat even on a good-sized duck, and it does not carve to very good advantage; in fact, more persons can be served from a chicken or a turkey of the same weight. Young ducks are rather difficult to clean, as a layer of fine down, which is not easily removed, covers the skin.

    SELECTION OF GEESE.--Geese are much more commonly used for food in foreign countries than in America. Their age may be told in the same way as that of ducks, namely, by feeling of the windpipe. The flesh is dark throughout and rather strongly flavored. The fat is used quite extensively for cooking purposes, and even as a butter substitute in some countries. Because of this fact, geese are generally fattened before they are slaughtered, and often half the weight of the bird is fat. The livers of fattened geese reach enormous proportions and are considered a delicacy. They are used for pâté de fois gras. Usually, this is put up in jars and brings a very high price.

    SELECTION OF PIGEONS.--Pigeons are raised primarily for their use as squabs. These are young birds about 4 weeks old, and their meat is tender and agreeable to the taste. The meat of the mature pigeon becomes quite tough and unpalatable. The breast is the only part of the bird that has meat on it in any quantity, and this meat is slightly lighter in color than that which comes from the remainder of the body. Midsummer is the best season for squabs, but they can be purchased at other times of the year. The cost of squabs is too high to allow them to be used extensively as a food in the ordinary household.

    SELECTION OF GUINEA FOWLS.--Guinea fowls are coming into common use as food. The young birds are preferable to the older ones. They are ready for the market in early autumn, while the old birds may be procured at any time. The breast meat of guinea fowls is almost as light as that of chicken, but all the meat of this bird has a gamy taste, which is absent in the chicken. If this particular flavor is much desired, it may be developed to even a greater degree by allowing the bird to hang after killing until the meat begins to "turn," that is, become "high." Such meat, however, is not usually desirable in the ordinary menu.

    SELECTION OF PHEASANT, PARTRIDGE, AND QUAIL.--Pheasant, partridge, and quail are usually considered game birds, but certain varieties are being extensively domesticated and bred for market. Such birds are small and are used more in the nature of a delicacy than as a common article of food.
  6. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR


    As has been implied, poultry must be properly prepared before it is ready for cooking; likewise, the method of cookery determines how it must be prepared. For example, if it is to be roasted, it must be drawn; if it is to be stewed, it must be drawn and cut into suitable pieces; and so on. The various steps that must be taken to make poultry suitable for cooking are therefore considered here in detail.

    DRESSING A CHICKEN.-- Although, as has been shown, the housewife does not have to dress the chicken that she is to cook--that is, kill and pluck it--there may be times when she will be called on to perform this task or at least direct it. A common way of killing chicken in the home is simply to grasp it firmly by the legs, lay it on a block, and then chop the head off with a sharp hatchet or a cleaver. If this plan is followed, the beheaded chicken must be held firmly until the blood has drained away and the reflex action that sets in has ceased. Otherwise, there is danger of becoming splashed with blood.

    After a chicken has been killed, the first step in its preparation, no matter how it is to be cooked, consists in removing the feathers, or plucking it, as this operation is called. Plucking can be done dry by simply pulling out the feathers. However, a bird can be plucked more readily if it is first immersed in water at the boiling point for a few minutes. Such water has a tendency to loosen the feathers so that they can be pulled from the skin easily. Unless the chicken is to be used at once, though, dry plucking is preferable to the other method. Care should be taken not to tear or mar the skin in plucking, and the operation is best performed by pulling out the feathers a few at a time, with a quick jerk. In a young chicken, small feathers, commonly called pin feathers, are apt to remain in the skin after plucking. These may be pulled out by pinching each with the point of a knife pressed against the thumb and then giving a quick jerk.

    Whether live poultry is dressed by a local butcher or in the home, the length of time it should be kept after killing demands attention. Such poultry should either be cooked before rigor mortis, or the stiffening of the muscles, has had time to begin, or be allowed to remain in a cool place long enough for this to pass off and the muscles to become tender again. Naturally, if this softening, or ripening, process, as it is sometimes called, goes on too long, decomposition will set in, with the usual harmful effects if the meat is used as food.

    SINGEING A CHICKEN.-- On all chickens except very young ones, whether they are home dressed or not, hairs will be found on the skin; and, as has been mentioned, the older the bird the more hair will it have. The next step in preparing a chicken for cooking, therefore, is to singe it, or burn off these hairs. However, before singeing, provided the head has not been removed, cut it off just where the neck begins, using a kitchen cleaver or a butcher knife. To singe a dressed chicken, grasp it by the head or the neck and the feet and then revolve it over a gas flame, or a burning piece of paper for a few seconds or just long enough to burn off the hairs without scorching the skin. After singeing, wash the skin thoroughly with a cloth and warm water. Then it will be ready for drawing and cutting up.

    DRAWING A CHICKEN.-- By drawing a chicken is meant the taking out of the entrails and removing all parts that are not edible. Although this work will be done by some butchers, the better plan is to do it at home, for, as has been stated, chicken or any other poultry must be cooked very soon after the entrails are removed. Chicken that is to be roasted is always prepared in this way, as the cavity that remains may be filled with stuffing. Drawing is also necessary when chicken is to be cooked in any other way, as by stewing or frying, but in addition it must be cut up. The procedure in drawing a chicken is simple, but some practice is required before deftness will result.

    In order to draw a chicken, carefully cut a lengthwise slit through the skin on the neck, and slip the fingers down around the crop, which is a small sack that holds the food eaten by the chicken. Then pull the crop out, and with it the windpipe, taking pains not to tear the skin nor to break the crop.

    Next, remove the tendons, or thick white cords, from the legs, so as to improve the meat. These may be easily removed, especially from a chicken that is freshly killed; that is, one in which the flesh is still moist. Simply cut through the skin, just above the foot, being careful not to cut the tendons that lie just beneath the skin; then slip a skewer or some other small, dull implement, as a fork, under the tendons, pull down toward the foot until they loosen at the second joint, and pull them out. With the tendons removed, the feet may be cut off. To do this, cut through the skin where the two bones join. As the joint separates, cut through the remaining tendons and skin on the back of the legs.

    Proceed, next, to cut a crosswise slit through the skin between the legs at a point above the vent, so that the entrails may be removed. This slit should be just large enough to admit the hand and no larger. Insert the fingers of one hand in this slit and gently move them around the mass of the internal organs, keeping them close to the framework of the bird. This will loosen the entrails at the points where they are attached to the body. Then, inserting the hand, slip the fingers around the mass at the top, near the neck, and with one pull remove the entire internal contents. The lungs, or lights, as they are sometimes called, do not come out with this mass. They will be found covered with a membrane and tightly fastened inside the breast bone, and must be removed by pulling them out with the tips of the fingers. After the entrails are removed, pour clean cold water into the cavity, rinse it well several times, and pour the water out.

    Among the contents drawn from the chicken will be found the heart, the liver, and the gizzard. These are called the giblets. They are the only edible internal organs, and must be separated from the rest. To do this, squeeze the blood from the heart, and then cut the large vessels off close to the top of it. Then cut the liver away. In handling this part of the giblets extreme care must be taken, for tightly attached to it, is the gall bladder, which is a tiny sack filled with green fluid, called bile. If this sack breaks, anything that its contents touches will become very bitter and therefore unfit to eat. The gall bag should be cut out of the liver above the place where it is attached, so as to be certain that it does not break nor lose any of the bile. Next, remove the gizzard, which consists of a fleshy part surrounding a sack containing partly digested food eaten by the chicken. First trim off any surplus fat, and carefully cut through the fleshy part just to the surface of the inside sack. Then pull the outside fleshy part away from the sack without breaking it, an operation that can be done if the work is performed carefully. After removing the giblets and preparing them as explained, wash them well, so that they may be used with the rest of the chicken. As a final step, cut out the oil sack, which lies just above the tail.

    CUTTING UP A CHICKEN.--When chicken that has been drawn is to be fried, stewed, fricasseed, or cooked in some similar way, it must be cut into suitable pieces. In order to do this properly, it is necessary to learn to locate the joints and to be able to cut squarely between the two bones where they are attached to each other. To sever the legs from the body of the chicken, first cut through the skin underneath each leg where it is attached to the body, bend the leg back far enough to break the joint, and then cut through it, severing the entire leg in one piece. When the legs are cut off, cut each one apart at the joint between the thigh and the lower part, making two pieces. To sever the wings from the body, cut through the skin where the wing is attached, and bend it back until the joint breaks. Then cut it off where the ends of the bones are attached to the joint. When both legs and both wings are removed, proceed to cut the body apart. Place the chicken, neck down, on a table, and cut down through the ribs parallel with the breast and the back, until the knife strikes a hard bone that it cannot cut. Then firmly grasp the breast with one hand and the back with the other and break the joints that attach these parts by pulling the back and the breast away from each other. Cut through the joints, so that the back, ribs, and neck will be in one piece and the breast in another. If desired, the breast may be divided into two pieces by cutting; also, as the back will break at the end of the ribs, it may be cut into two pieces there. Finally, cut the neck from the top piece of the back.

    The pieces of chicken thus procured may be rinsed clean with cold water, but they should never be allowed to stand in water, because this will draw out some of the extractives, or flavoring material, soluble albumin, and mineral salts.

    BONED CHICKEN--To offer variety in the serving of chicken, as well as to present an easily carved bird, the process known as boning is often resorted to. Boning, as will be readily understood, consists in removing the flesh from the bones before the bird is cooked. Boned chicken may be prepared by roasting or broiling. In either case, the cookery process is the same as that already given for poultry that is not boned. If it is to be roasted, the cavity that results from the removal of the bones and internal organs should be filled with stuffing or forcemeat, so that the bird will appear as if nothing had been removed. If it is to be broiled, stuffing is not necessary. Cooked boned chicken may be served either hot or cold. Of course, other kinds of poultry may be boned if desired, and if the directions here given for boning chicken are thoroughly learned no difficulty will be encountered in performing this operation on any kind. Boning is not a wasteful process as might be supposed, because after the flesh is removed from the bones, they may be used in the making of soup.

    Before proceeding to bone a chicken, singe it, pull out the pin feathers, cut off the head, remove the tendons from the legs, and take out the crop through the neck. The bird may be drawn or not before boning it, but in any event care must be taken not to break any part of the skin. With these matters attended to, wash the skin well and wipe it carefully. First, cut off the legs at the first joint, and, with the point of a sharp knife, loosen the skin and muscles just above the joint by cutting around the bone. Cut the neck off close to the body. Then, starting at the neck, cut the skin clear down the back to the tail. Begin on one side, and scrape the flesh, with the skin attached to it, from the back bone. When the shoulder blade is reached, push the flesh from it with the fingers, until the wing joint is reached. Disjoint the wing where it is attached to the body, and loosen the skin from the wing bone down to the second joint. Disjoint the bone here and remove it up to this place. The remaining bone is left in the tip of the wing to give it shape. When the bone from one wing is removed, turn the chicken around and remove the bone from the other wing. Next, start at the back, separating the flesh from the ribs, taking care not to penetrate into the side cavity of the chicken, provided it has not been drawn. Push the flesh down to the thigh, disjoint the bone here, and remove it down to the second joint. Disjoint the bone at the other joint, and remove the skin and meat from the bone by turning them inside out. If the bone has been properly loosened at the first joint of the leg, there will be no trouble in slipping it out. When this is done, turn the meat and skin back again, so that they will be right side out. Then proceed in the same way with the other leg. Next, free the flesh from the collar bone down to the breast bone on both sides. When the ridge of the breast bone is reached, care must be taken not to break the skin that lies very close to the bone. The fingers should be used to separate the flesh at this place. When the sides and front have been thus taken care of, free the skin and the flesh from the bones over the rump. After this is done, the skeleton and internal organs of the undrawn bird may be removed, leaving the flesh intact.
    If the boned chicken is to be roasted, the entire chicken, including the spaces from which the wing and leg bones were removed, may be filled with highly seasoned stuffing. When this is done, shape the chicken as much as possible to resemble its original shape and sew up the back. The chicken will then be ready to roast.

    PREPARING CHICKEN FEET.--Many persons consider that chicken feet are not worth while for food. This, however, is a mistaken idea, for they will add to the flavor of soup stock or they may be cooked with the giblets to make stock for gravy. Chicken feet do not contain much meat, but what little there is has an excellent flavor and should be removed for use when creamed chicken or any dish made with left-over chicken is to be cooked.
    To prepare chicken feet for use as food, scrub the feet well and pour boiling water over them. After a minute or two, remove them from the water and rub them with a clean cloth to peel off the scaly skin. Finally remove the nails by bending them back.

    UTILIZING THE WING TIPS.--The last joint, or tip, of chicken wings has no value as food, but, like the feet, it will help to add flavor to any stock that is made. This small piece of wing may be removed and then cooked with the feet and giblets.
  7. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR

    PREPARATION OF TURKEY.--The preparation of a plucked turkey for cooking is almost identically the same as that of a plucked chicken. Begin the preparation by singeing it; that is, hold it over a flame and turn it so that all the hairs on the skin will be burned off. Then look the skin over carefully, remove any pin feathers that may not have been removed in plucking, and wash it thoroughly. Next, cut off the head, leaving as much of the neck as possible. Draw the tendons from the legs as in preparing chicken; the ease with which this can be done will depend greatly on the length of time the turkey has been killed. Then cut off the legs at the first joint above the foot.

    Having prepared the external part of the turkey, proceed to draw it. First, remove the crop by cutting a slit lengthwise in the neck over the crop, catching it with the fingers, and pulling it out. Next, cut a slit between the legs, below the breast bone, and draw out the internal organs. Clean and retain the giblets. Remove the lungs, wash out the cavity in the turkey, and cut off the oil bag on the back, just above the tail.

    Turkey prepared in this way is ready to stuff and roast. It is never cut into pieces in the ordinary household until it has been cooked and is ready to serve. Directions for carving are therefore given later.

    PREPARATION OF DUCK AND GOOSE.--The preparation of duck and goose for cooking does not differ materially from that of turkey or chicken. Like turkey, duck or goose is generally roasted and not cut up until it is ready to serve. It will be well to note that young ducks are covered with small feathers, or down, which is very difficult to remove. However, the down may be removed by pulling it out with a small knife pressed against the thumb. When the down is removed, proceed with the preparation. Singe, wash, remove the head and feet, draw, wash the inside of the bird, and remove the oil sack. Goose may be prepared for cooking in the same way.

    PREPARATION OF SMALL BIRDS.--Squabs, partridge, pheasant, and other small birds are usually cooked by broiling. To prepare such a bird for cooking, singe, remove any small feathers that may remain, wash, remove the head and feet, and draw, following the directions given for drawing chicken. When it is thus cleaned, lay the bird open. To do this, begin at the neck and cut down the back along the spine. If desired, however, the bird may be cut down the back before drawing and the entrails removed through the cut down the back. Finally, wash the inside and wipe it dry, when the bird will be ready for broiling.
  8. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR


    With poultry, as in the case of meats of any kind, it is the composition that determines the method of cookery; and, as the structure and composition of the tissue of poultry do not differ materially from those of meats, the application of the various cooking methods is practically the same. Young and tender birds that have comparatively little flesh, such as young chickens, squabs, and guinea fowl, are usually prepared by such rapid methods as frying and broiling. Medium-sized poultry, including chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, and geese, require more cooking, and this, of course, must be done at a lower temperature; therefore, such poultry is generally roasted. Old poultry, particularly old chicken, or fowl, which is apt to be tough, requires still more cooking, and for this reason is stewed, braized, or fricasseed. The recipes for the cooking of various kinds of poultry here given will serve to make clear the cookery method to employ, as well as how to carry it out to advantage.

    The method of broiling in the case of poultry of all kinds does not differ in any way from the same method applied to cuts of meat. Since broiling is a rapid method of cookery and heat is applied at a high temperature, it is necessary that the poultry chosen for broiling be young and tender and have a comparatively small amount of meat on the bones.

    Broiled poultry is not an economical dish, neither is it one in which the greatest possible amount of flavor is obtained, since, as in the case of the meat of animals used for food, the flavor develops with the age of the birds. However, broiled poultry has value in the diet of invalids and persons with poor appetite and digestion, for if it is properly done it is appetizing and easily digested.

    BROILED POULTRY.--Poultry that is to be broiled must first be dressed, drawn, and cleaned. Then, as has been mentioned for the preparation of small birds, lay the bird open by cutting down along the spine, beginning at the neck. This will permit the bird to be spread . When it is thus made ready, washed, and wiped dry, heat the broiler and grease it. Then place the bird on the broiler in the manner shown in Fig. 26 and expose it to severe heat. Sear quickly on one side, and turn and sear on the other side. Then reduce the heat to a lower temperature and broil more slowly, turning often. To prevent burning, the parts that stand up close to the flame may be covered with strips of bacon fastened on with skewers; also, to get the best results, the side of the bird on which the flesh is thick should be exposed to the heat for a greater length of time than the other side. If there is any danger of the high places burning in the broiler, the bird may be removed and the cooking continued in a hot oven. Broiled poultry should be well done when served. This means, then, particularly in the case of chickens, that the broiling process should be carried on for about 20 minutes. When the bird is properly cooked, remove it from the broiler, place it on a hot platter, dot it with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish, and serve.

    As has been mentioned, birds slightly older and larger than those used for broiling should be fried, because frying is a slower method and gives the flesh a more thorough cooking. However, most of the dishes commonly known as fried poultry are not fried, but sautéd in shallow fat. The same principles employed in sautéing any food are applied in the cooking of poultry by this method; that is, the surface is seared as quickly as possible and the cooking is finished at a lower temperature. Often in this cooking process, the pieces to be sautéd are dipped into batter or rolled in flour to assist in keeping the juices in the meat.

    FRIED CHICKEN.--To many persons, fried chicken--or, rather, sautéd chicken, as it should be called--is very appetizing. Chicken may be fried whole, but usually it is cut up, and when this is done it serves to better advantage. Likewise, the method of preparation is one that adds flavor to young chicken, which would be somewhat flavorless if prepared in almost any other way.

    Frying is not a difficult cookery process. To prepare chickens, which should be young ones, for this method of preparation, draw, clean, and cut them up in the manner previously explained. When they are ready, wash the pieces and roll them in a pan of flour, covering the entire surface of each piece. Then, in a frying pan, melt fat, which may be chicken fat, bacon fat, part butter, lard, or any other frying fat that will give an agreeable flavor. When the fat is thoroughly hot, place in it the pieces of floured chicken and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. As soon as the pieces have browned on one side, turn them over and brown on the other side. Then reduce the heat, cover the frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, and continue to fry more slowly. If, after 25 or 30 minutes, the meat can be easily pierced with a fork, it is ready to serve; if this cannot be done, add a small quantity of hot water, replace the cover, and simmer until the meat can be pierced readily. To serve fried chicken, place the pieces on a platter and garnish the dish with parsley so as to add to its appearance.

    Roasting is the cookery process that is commonly employed for preparing chickens that are of good size, as well as turkeys, ducks, and geese. It is also followed at times for cooking guinea fowl, partridges, pheasants, and similar small birds. As a rule, birds prepared in this way are filled with stuffing, which may be made in so many ways that roasted stuffed poultry makes a delightful change in the regular routine of meals.

    ROAST CHICKEN.--Roasting is the best method to employ for the preparation of old chicken unless, of course, it is extremely old and tough. Then stewing is about the only method that is satisfactory. Chicken for roasting should weigh no less than 3 pounds. Chicken prepared according to the following directions makes a dish that is very appetizing.

    To prepare chicken for roasting, clean and draw it in the manner previously given. When it is made clean, rub salt and pepper on the inside of the cavity, and stuff the cavity of the chicken, with any desirable stuffing. Directions for preparing stuffing are given later. Also, fill with stuffing the space from which the crop was removed, inserting it through the slit in the neck. Thread a large darning needle with white cord and sew up the slit in the neck, as well as the one between the legs, so that the stuffing will not fall out. Also, force the neck inside of the skin, and tie the skin with a piece of string. Then, truss the chicken by forcing the tip of each wing back of the first wing joint, making a triangle; also, tie the ends of the legs together and pull them down, tying them fast to the tail. Trussing in this manner will give the chicken a much better appearance for serving than if it were not so fastened; but, of course, before it is placed on the table, the strings must be cut and removed. After stuffing and trussing, put the chicken on its back in a roasting pan, sprinkle it with flour, and place it in a very hot oven. Sear the skin quickly. Then reduce the temperature slightly and pour a cupful of water into the roasting pan. Baste the chicken every 10 or 15 minutes with this water, until it is well browned and the breast and legs may be easily pierced with a fork. Remove to a platter and serve. If gravy is desired, it may be made in the roasting pan in the same way as for fried chicken. The giblets may be cut into pieces and added or they may be left out and served after first cooking and then browning them.

    ROAST TURKEY.--In America, roast turkey is usually considered as a holiday dish, being served most frequently in the homes on Thanksgiving day. However, at times when the price is moderate, it is not an extravagance to serve roast turkey for other occasions. Roasting is practically the only way in which turkey is prepared in the usual household, and it is by far the best method of preparation. Occasionally, however, a very tough turkey is steamed before roasting in order to make it sufficiently tender.

    The preparation of roast turkey does not differ materially from the method given for the preparation of roast chicken. After the turkey is cleaned, drawn, and prepared according to the directions previously given, rub the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Then stuff with any desirable stuffing, filling the cavity and also the space under the skin of the neck where the crop was removed. Then sew up the opening, draw the skin over the neck and tie it, and truss the turkey by forcing the tip of each wing back of the first wing joint in a triangular shape and tying both ends of the legs to the tail. When thus made ready, place the turkey in the roasting pan so that the back rests on the pan and the legs are on top. Then dredge with flour, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in a hot oven. When its surface is well browned, reduce the heat and baste every 15 minutes until the turkey is cooked. This will usually require about 3 hours, depending, of course, on the size of the bird. For basting, melt 4 tablespoonfuls of butter or bacon fat in 1/2 cupful of boiling water. Pour this into the roasting pan. Add water when this evaporates, and keep a sufficient amount for basting. Turn the turkey several times during the roasting, so that the sides and back, as well as the breast, will be browned. When the turkey can be easily pierced with a fork, remove it from the roasting pan, cut the strings and pull them out, place on a platter, garnish, and serve. Gravy to be served with roast turkey may be made in the manner mentioned for making gravy to be served with fried chicken.

    ROAST DUCK.--While young duck is often broiled, the usual method of preparing this kind of poultry is by roasting; in fact, roasting is an excellent way in which to cook duck that is between the broiling age and full maturity.

    Duck is roasted in practically the same way as chicken or turkey. In the case of a young duck, or spring duck, however, stuffing is not used. After it is drawn and cleaned, truss it by folding back the wings and tying the ends of the legs to the tail, so as to give it a good appearance when served. Season with salt and pepper and dredge with flour, and, over the breast, to prevent it from burning, place strips of bacon or salt pork. When thus made ready, put the duck in a roasting pan, pour in 1/2 cupful of water, and cook it in a hot oven until it is very tender, basting it about every 15 minutes during the roasting. About 15 minutes before the roasting is done, remove the strips of bacon or pork, so as to permit the breast underneath them to brown. Serve on a platter with a garnish. Make gravy if desired.

    In the case of an old duck, proceed as for roasting chicken or turkey; that is, draw, clean, stuff, and truss it. In addition, place strips of bacon or salt pork over its breast. Place it in a roasting pan, pour 1/2 cupful of water into the pan, and put it in a hot oven. During the roasting baste the duck every 15 minutes; also, as in roasting a young duck, remove the bacon or salt pork in plenty of time to permit the part underneath to brown. When the surface is well browned and the meat may be easily pierced with a fork, place the duck on a platter, remove the strings used to sew it up, garnish, and serve. Make gravy if desired.

    ROAST GOOSE.--Specific directions for roasting goose are not given, because the methods differ in no way from those already given for roasting duck. Very young goose, or green goose, is usually roasted without being stuffed, just as young duck. Older goose, however, is stuffed, trussed, and roasted just as old duck. A very old goose may be placed in a roasting pan and steamed until it is partly tender before roasting. Apples in some form or other are commonly served with goose. For example, rings of fried apple may be used as a garnish, or apple sauce or stewed or baked apples may be served as an accompaniment. Make gravy if desired.

    ROAST SMALL BIRDS.--Such small birds as guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, quail, etc. may be roasted if desired, but on account of being so small they are seldom filled with stuffing. To roast such poultry, first clean, draw, and truss them. Then lard them with strips of bacon or salt pork, and place in a roasting pan in a very hot oven. During the roasting, turn them so as to brown all sides; also, baste every 15 minutes during the roasting with the water that has been poured into the roasting pan. Continue the roasting until the flesh is very soft and the joints can be easily pulled apart. Serve with a garnish. Make gravy if desired.
  9. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    Cookery Methods Continued-


    CHICKEN STEWED.--Perhaps the most common way of preparing chicken is to stew it. When chicken is so cooked, such an addition as dumplings or noodles is generally made because of the excellent food combination that results. For stewing, an old chicken with a great deal of flavor should be used in preference to a young one, which will have less flavor.

    In order to prepare chicken by stewing, clean, draw, and cut up the bird according to directions previously given. Place the pieces in a large kettle and cover them well with boiling water. Bring all quickly to the boiling point and add 2 teaspoonfuls of salt. Then remove the scum, lower the temperature, and continue to cook at the simmering point. Keep the pieces well covered with water; also, keep the stew pot covered during the cooking. When the chicken has become tender enough to permit the pieces to be easily pierced with a fork, remove them to a deep platter or a vegetable dish. Dumplings or noodles may be cooked in the chicken broth, as the water in which the chicken was stewed is called, or they may be boiled or steamed separately. If they are cooked separately, thicken the broth with flour and serve it over the chicken with the noodles or dumplings.

    FRICASSEE OF CHICKEN.--For chicken that is tough, fricasseeing is an excellent cooking method to employ. Indeed, since it is a long method of cookery, a rather old, comparatively tough fowl lends itself best to fricasseeing. Fricassee of chicken also is a dish that requires a great deal of flavor to be drawn from the meat, and this, of course, cannot be done if a young chicken is used.

    To prepare fricassee of chicken, clean and cut the bird into pieces according to the directions previously given. Put these into a saucepan, cover with boiling water, add 2 teaspoonfuls of salt, bring to the boiling point quickly, skim, and reduce the temperature so that the meat will simmer slowly until it is tender. Next, remove the pieces of chicken from the water in which they were cooked, roll them in flour, and sauté them in butter or chicken fat until they are nicely browned. If more than 2 or 2 1/2 cupfuls of broth remains, boil it until the quantity is reduced to this amount. Then moisten 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls of flour with a little cold water, add this to the stock, and cook until it thickens. If desired, the broth may be reduced more and thin cream may be added to make up the necessary quantity. Arrange the pieces of chicken on a deep platter, pour the sauce over them, season with salt and pepper if necessary, and serve. To enhance the appearance of this dish, the platter may be garnished with small three-cornered pieces of toast, tiny carrots, or carrots and green peas.

    COOKING OF GIBLETS.--As has been pointed out, the giblets--that is, the liver, heart, and gizzard of all kinds of fowl--are used in gravy making and as an ingredient for stuffing. When poultry is stewed, as in making stewed chicken, it is not uncommon to cook the giblets with the pieces of chicken. The gizzard and heart especially require long, slow cooking to make them tender enough to be eaten. Therefore, when poultry is broiled, fried, or roasted, some other cookery method must be resorted to, as these processes are too rigid for the preparation of giblets. In such cases, the best plan is to cook them in water until they are tender and then sauté them in butter. When cooked in this way, they may be served with the poultry, for to many persons they are very palatable.
  10. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR

    Poultry of any kind should always be served on a platter or in a dish that has been heated in the oven or by running hot water over it. After placing the cooked bird on the platter or the dish from which it is to be served, it should be taken to the dining room and placed before the person who is to serve. If it is roasted, it will require carving. If not, the pieces may be served as they are desired by the individuals at the table. Poultry having both dark and white meat is usually served according to the taste of each individual at the table. If no preference is stated, however, a small portion of each kind of meat is generally served.

    The carving of broiled or roast chicken, turkey, duck, or goose may be done in the kitchen, but having the whole bird brought to the table and carved there adds considerably to a meal. Carving is usually done by the head of the family, but in a family in which there are boys each one should be taught to carve properly, so that he may do the carving in the absence of another person.

    For carving, the bird should be placed on the platter so that it rests on its back; also, a well-sharpened carving knife and a fork should be placed at the right of the platter and the person who is to serve. To carve a bird, thrust the fork firmly into the side or breast of the fowl and cut through the skin where the leg joins the body, breaking the thigh joint. Cut through this joint, severing the second joint and leg in one piece. Then, if desired, cut the leg apart at the second joint. As the portions are thus cut, they may be placed on a separate platter that is brought to the table heated. Next, in the same manner, cut off the other leg and separate it at the second joint. With the legs cut off, remove each wing at the joint where it is attached to the body. Then slice the meat from the breast by cutting down from the ridge of the breast bone toward the wing. After this meat has been sliced off, there still remains some meat around the thigh and on the back. This should be sliced off or removed with the point of the knife, so that the entire skeleton will be clean. If the entire bird is not to be served, as much as is necessary may be cut and the remainder left on the bones. With each serving of meat a spoonful of dressing should be taken from the inside of the bird, provided it is stuffed, and, together with some gravy, served on the plate.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: