This is the way to bring out the distinctive flavor of a canvasback. Seasoning and stuffing destroy all that. A canvasback should not be washed either inside or outside, but wiped clean with a dry cloth. Duck should be served with currant jelly, if you have it. (See also page 297).
Clean well and divide into convenient pieces (say, legs, wings, and four parts of body). Place in pot with enough cold water to cover. Add salt, pepper, a pinch of mixed herbs, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cut up fine some onions and potatoes (carrots, too, if you can get them). Put a few of these in the pot so they may dissolve and add body to the dish (flour or corn starch may be substituted for thickening). Stew slowly, skim and stir frequently. In forty-five minutes add the rest of the carrots, and in fifteen minutes more add the rest of the onions and potatoes, also turnips, if you have any. Stew until meat is done.
The rank taste of these can be neutralized, unless very strong, by using plenty of pepper, inside and out, and baking with an onion inside. Or, skin, draw, and immerse overnight in a solution of l/2 small teacup of vinegar to a gallon of water; then fry or bake.
Coots, sheldrake or old-squaw are rid of their fishy taste, without sacrificing the game flavor, by a process described by Mary Walsh:
"Pluck and draw the birds immediately; don't allow them to hang with the entrails in. Wash thoroughly with cold water both outside and in. Cut off the tail for about one inch with the fatty tissue at the base. Sprinkle with pungent white pepper both inside and out, using two teaspoonfuls to each bird. Place in the ice-box but not touching the ice, and keep for at least one week, better ten days. Then wash with salt water (handful to the pint), dry and roast for twenty minutes with an apple placed in each bird. Then serve, removing the apple before placing on the table".
The breast of a coot or rail may be broiled over the embers. Cut slits in it, and in these stick slices of fat salt pork. The broiled breast of a young bittern is good.
Pluck and singe. Split down the back through the bone, and remove the trail. Wipe out with damp towel. Remove head and feet. Rub inside with pepper and salt. Flatten the breast, brush over with melted butter, or skewer bacon on upper side, and grill over a hot bed of coals.
Dress and draw, but do not split. Place a piece of bacon or pork inside, and skewer a piece to the breast. Roast before the fire as described for turkey, or in a reflector.
If drumsticks and breasts of birds are left over, they are better deviled than served cold. Mix up with a knife half an ounce of butter, half a teaspoonful each of mustard and salt, some white or black pepper, and enough cayenne or chile to give it " snap." Slit the meat, and insert this mixture, or chop the meat fine and add the seasoning. Heat well in the frying-pan, and serve.
These are good roasted before a bed of coals, searing them first as in broiling meat. Impale each bird on a green stick, with a slice of bacon on the point of the stick over the bird. Thrust butt of stick into the ground, and incline stick toward the fire. Turn frequently.
When a number of birds are to be roasted, a better way is to set up two forked stakes and a cross-pole before the fire. Hang birds from the pole, heads downward, by wet strings. Baste as recommended for turkey, and turn frequently. Serve very hot, without any sauce, unless it be plain melted butter and a slice of lemon.
To grill in a pan: pin a bit of bacon to the breast of each bird with a sliver like a toothpick; hold the pan close over the coals at first for searing; then cook more slowly, but not enough to dry out the meat.
Such birds can also be served in a ragout. (See page 300).
Woodcock are not drawn. The trail shrivels up and is easily removed at table.
Sauces for Game. (See also page 303).
See under Wild Turkey, Roasted.
Having none of the vegetable itself, use a teaspoonful of celery seed freshly powdered, or five drops of the essence of celery on a piece of sugar. Flavor some melted butter with this, add a little milk, and simmer ten minutes.
Put a pound of ripe cranberries in a kettle with just enough water to pie-vent burning. Stew to a pulp, stirring all the time. Then add syrup previously prepared by boiling a pound of sugar in % pint of water. Canned or dehydrated cranberries will answer.
Put a large spoonful of butter in a pan over the fire; add one onion cut into slices; cook until the onion is lightly browned. Then stir in one teaspoonful of curry powder and add gradually a generous cup of brown gravy, or soup stock, or the broth in which meat has been stewed, or evaporated milk slightly thinned. Boil fifteen minutes, and strain. Curry may be varied indefinitely by further flavoring with lemon juice, red pepper, nutmeg, mace, or Worcestershire sauce.