Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - ROAST BLACK-COCK.

From Mrs. Beeton's Household Management
Ingredients: –
Black-cock
butter
toast.
Mode.—Let these birds hang for a few days, or they will be tough and tasteless, if not well kept. Pluck and draw them, and wipe the insides and outsides with a damp cloth, as washing spoils the flavour. Cut off the heads, and truss them, the same as a roast fowl, cutting off the toes, and scalding and peeling the feet. Trussing them with the head on, as shown in the engraving, is still practised by many cooks, but the former method is now considered the best. Put them down to a brisk fire, well baste them with butter, and serve with a piece of toast under, and a good gravy and bread sauce. After trussing, some cooks cover the breast with vine-leaves and slices of bacon, and then roast them. They should be served in the same manner and with the same accompaniments as with the plainly-roasted birds.
Time.—45 to 50 minutes.
Average cost, from 5s. to 6s. the brace; but seldom bought.
Sufficient,—2 or 3 for a dish.
Seasonable from the middle of August to the end of December.
THE BLACK-COCK, HEATH-COCK, MOOR-FOWL, OR HEATH-POULT.—This bird sometimes weighs as much as four pounds, and the hen about two. It is at present confined to the more northern parts of Britain, culture and extending population having united in driving it into more desolate regions, except, perhaps, in a few of the more wild and less-frequented portions of England. It may still be found in the New Forest, in Hampshire, Dartmoor, and Sedgmoor, in Devonshire, and among the hills of Somersetshire, contiguous to the latter. It may also be found in Staffordshire, in North Wales, and again in the north of England; but nowhere so plentiful as in some parts of the Highlands of Scotland. The males are hardly distinguishable from the females until they are about half-grown, when the black feathers begin to appear, first about the sides and breast. Their food consists of the tops of birch and heath, except when the mountain berries are ripe, at which period they eagerly and even voraciously pick the bilberries and cranberries from the bushes. Large numbers of these birds are found in Norway, almost rivalling the turkey in point of size. Some of them have begun to be imported into London, where they are vended in the shops; but the flavour of their flesh is not equal to that of the Scotch bird.


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