A Window into America's Past
Old Louisville
Recipe Book

This section contains a selection of traditional recipes for poultry and fowl.  All recipes, unless noted otherwise, are genuine Kentucky and Southern recipes from the Victorian era or before.  They would have been familiar to the early residents of Old Louisville


The Selection of Fowls.

In choosing fowls select those that are heavy in proportion to their size. For fricassee, roast or boiled chicken a hen is best. For croquettes, highly seasoned entrees or soups a cock may be used. White flesh poultry, such as turkeys and chickens, require to be well done. Game with dark meat, such as canvas-back ducks, venison and almost all birds, should be cooked rare.

To Dress Poultry.

Poultry should be dressed as soon as killed, as the feathers come out more easily. To pluck poultry pull out 2 feathers at a time, with a quick motion toward the head. Remove pin feathers with the aid of sharp knife. To singe the fowls put in a pan, roll of lighted paper and singe the bird thoroughly, but use care not to scorch the skin. Take off the head and legs, cut open the skin on the, back of the neck, disjoint the latter and cut off close to the body. Separate the crop carefully from the skin of the neck, remove that and the windpipe, insert one finger into the opening and loosen the organs from the breast bone. Be sure not to break the entrails or the gall bladder, but pull out all together, for should it happen the chicken or fowl is almost ruined, as it imparts a bitter taste which spoils Ore delicate flavor.

To Truss a Fowl.

Push the legs up until the knees are above point of the breast bone, cross them at the tail and tie firmly. Put a skewer through body at the wings and thighs, press close to the body and tie across the back.

To Prepare Giblets.

Be careful not to use giblets unless sound. They should be a light color. Cut away any portion that has been discolored by the gall bladder and be careful it does not touch the meat. Cut through thick muscle of the gizzard and peel it off, without breaking into little gristmill inside. Put them in salted water 1 hour. Cook back of fowl with the giblets. The legs and wing-tips may be added to the stock pot after scalding and peeling.

To Stuff a Fowl.

Put fowl in a deep bowl, fill the breast with dressing until plump. but allow for expanding while cooking. Fold skin of the neck loosely back and fasten with a bird skewer. Have opening not more than 3 inches, can close by sewing with large darning needle and soft cotton. Leave long ends on thread.

Dressing for Fowls.

Take stale bread, roll fine. Have a skillet hot with 1 dessert-spoon of melted butter and dessertspoon of lard. When hot add the crumbs, a dash of onion, 5 tablespoons of stock from fowl. Season highly with salt and pepper. To this dressing may be added, 1 pint of raw oysters and cook until done, or 1 pint of pulverized chestnuts may be added. In that case omit the oysters. It requires about 30 minutes for dressing to cook.

To Broil Chickens or Birds.

Put on chickens, pepper, salt and bits of butter, place in the pan and add a little cold water. Baste frequently and pour over melted butter when ready to serve.


Source: The Kentucky Receipt Book, 1903


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