Next take the slices of chicken and a few thin slices of ham, pour a little of the white sauce on to a plate, and before it has time to cool, cover the plate with very thin slices of chicken; dip the ham into the stock, and spread it over the chicken, again covering the ham with some more thin slices of chicken. Cover the whole, by means of a spoon, with some more white sauce, taking care to leave a little sauce for use afterwards.
Now when all this sets, which it will do very quickly, it becomes like a large white cake, barely half an inch thick. Cut this white cake into little oval pieces, the size and shape of the lobster cutlets, with a sharp penknife ; take up each cutlet carefully, and with a small spoon, or end of a silver knife, cover the edges with the white sauce, which must be nearly set. Next cut some tiny green leaves out of some pickled gherkins, and some red leaves out of some beetroot, or the red skin of a chilli, and place four little leaves, two of each in the centre of each cutlet, star-shaped; a drop of white sauce will make it stick. Place a little piece of parsley, not much bigger than a pin's head, in the centre of the star; stick a little lobster-claw, rthree-quarters of an inch long, in each cutlet, and place them in a silver dish, round the aspic jelly, with a small piece of fresh, bright-green parsley between each cutlet, by way of garnish; and few prettier dishes can be handed round than the one in question.
The dish is somewhat troublesome, but then its appearance repays the trouble, besides which it does not require much standing over the fire. The latter part can be done sitting down. The basin containing the white sauce can be placed in a larger basin containing hot water, to prevent it setting too soon.
Instead of beetroot, a thin leaf of truffle looks much better, in which case a red bead of lobster-coral should be placed in the centre of the star, instead of the parsley. However, recommending truffle is rather useless, for the simple reason that persons rich enough to use them generally keep a cook, to whom these instructions would be unnecessary.
The next point is the rissoles. Take all the remains of the fowl—i.e., about half—taking great care that no pieces of bone or skin remain, and chop it up with half the tin of mushrooms, and a good slice of fat ham. Chop up separately, very finely, a piece of onion about as big as the top of the ringer down to the first joint; sufficient parsley, when chopped, to fill a tea-spoon ; enough thyme to cover a sixpence; add a little cayenne pepper and salt. Mix the whole well together, and if a sausage-machine is in the house, of course run it through it; but if not, some pains and time must be spent over the chopping. Roll it up into small balls, dip them first into some well-beaten-up egg, and then into some fine bread-crumbs, and fry; and serve with some gravy poured round, exactly as the mutton cutlets were done in the previous article, though of course these rissoles are far superior to those made from mutton.
Next with regard to the forcemeat for the paper cases for the larks. These paper cases can be bought at the pastrycook's, but they are easily made at home, much cheaper, out of stiff note-paper. Take a quarter of a pound of calf's liver, cut it up into small pieces, and fry in about the same quantity of rather fat ham.
Chop up finely a bead of garlic, a piece of lemon-peel the size of the first finger-nail, a tea-spoonful of parsley, and the remaining half of the tin of mushrooms; add a little cayenne pepper and some salt, and enough aromatic mixed herbs to cover a sixpence (these herbs are composed of white peppercorns, cloves, one portion ; marjoram, basil, thyme, nutmeg, mace, half a portion ; dried bay-leaves, a quarter of a portion ; well pounded and sifted, and put by in a stoppered bottle for use). Chop the whole very finely, and put it by in a small stew-pan to keep hot till wanted. Place a dessert-spoonful of this rich forcemeat at the bottom of each paper case. The paper cases should have the chill taken off them, by being placed before the fire for a minute. Then place a small roast lark on the top of each case.
Larks take only about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour to roast, according to their size, and ought to be eaten directly they are cooked. The cases should be placed in a silver dish, with parsley between them. This is a very savoury dish, and at the same time a very cheap substitute for game for a dozen people. Should there be no mixed herbs ready, a little nutmeg and mace will be found to flavour the forcemeat sufficiently for ordinary purposes.
Of course, in comparing the above two dinners, we have purposely taken rather extreme cases. What we would impress upon housekeepers is that many of these pretty, savoury little dishes, though they may give considerable trouble, are nevertheless very cheap. By simply looking ahead for a day or two, and a little industry on the part of others in the house than the cook only, a dinner often may be given combining elegance with strict economy.