For the hunter who is not sure how to prepare his kill for the table (or the friend who suddenly gets feathered good will thrust upon him) the following tips and recipes are offered by Harry Botsford:
If the bird is badly hit remove intestines on the spot. Hang bird by feet for a minimum of three days. At home pick birds by hand—never scale them—and remove pin feathers and oil sac. Clean, wiping interior with a vinegar-soaked cloth. With crochet hook probe each shot hole; twist hook and remove feathers driven into flesh. Clean each wound with lemon juice and wash orifices with vinegar to remove clotted blood. The same rules apply to birds stored in a freezer with their feathers on. Take out of storage, defrost and hang for three days, then proceed as above. For best results pluck and prepare birds before freezing. When cooking remember the rule: "Cook until tender."
RUFFED GROUSE PARISIAN
Clean birds and split in half. Place on the well-oiled rack of an open roasting pan, broil for five minutes on each side, remove to a shallow casserole lined with 16 to 18 strips of fat bacon. Season with a little salt, a pinch of powdered juniper berries, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, a pinch each of thyme, nutmeg and clove. Add 1 cup of port, � cup chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, 2 tablespoons grated onion, 1 tablespoon chopped chervil. Place covered casserole in a 300� oven for 30 minutes, remove the cover, cook for 10 more minutes. Serve on triangles of toast spread with mashed pheasant liver saut�ed in butter. Strain the sauce, add 1 small glass of currant jelly, bring to a boil, correct seasoning, pour over the birds.
Clean and dress three well-hung pheasants. Rub with sweet butter on the exterior, rinse out the cavities with 2 tablespoons of brandy each, season with salt, pepper, a little crumbled tarragon. Place on a rack in an uncovered roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes in a 325� oven. Add 6 tablespoons of Madeira to the juices in the pan; roast for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes before serving, place 6 rounds of rye bread in the pan to brown in the juices. Place pheasants on a bed of watercress, surround with the bread slices and garnish with lemon slices.
MOURNING DOVES WITH GREEN PEAS
Clean the birds, raise the skin over the breasts and insert as much dressing seasoned to taste as possible. Tie bacon over the breasts and dredge lightly with seasoned flour. Arrange in a buttered baking dish; add diluted consomm� to cover the bottom about one-half inch. Cover and place in a 325� oven; when the birds are almost tender, remove cover and permit them to brown. Remove bacon strips at the same time. Place birds on a warm platter, add a little heavy cream and dry white wine to the pan juices, bring to a boil, correct seasoning, pour over the birds. Serve with green peas.
Plan on one quail per person, but have seconds available. Clean birds, wipe inside and out with a damp cloth. Stuff with a dressing of chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, butter, cream, seasoned to taste. Truss, rub the exterior with salt and butter, place on a bed of bacon slices, add just a little water to the baking pan, roast for 30 minutes in a 325� oven or until the birds are brown. Fifteen minutes before the birds are done add � cup heavy cream to each bird in the roasting pan.
PRAIRIE CHICKEN, CAMP STYLE
Clean a well-hung bird, wipe with a clean cloth wrung out with a little brandy. Drench birds in cold water. Cut into serving pieces and roll in seasoned flour. Fry slowly in a heavy pan in a mixture of half butter or bacon drippings and half vegetable fat or oil. When brown and tender, remove to a hot serving platter. Stir 2 tablespoons flour into the pan of fat, add 1 cup reconstituted evaporated milk slowly under vigorous stirring; cook until the gravy is fairly thick. Add a heavy sprinkle of pepper, pour over the pieces of prairie chicken.
BAKED WOODCOCK BREASTS
Fill a buttered baking dish with paper-thin raw sliced potatoes and thick slices of tomatoes, well seasoned. Top the dish with four or more breasts of woodcock, seasoned lightly and rubbed with butter. Cover the top with finely diced country-cured ham. Bake until the breasts are brown, the vegetables cooked. Serve from the baking dish.
ROAST WILD TURKEY
The wild turkey, a lean and muscular bird, requires heat, larding and frequent basting. Stuff with highly spiced fat sausage, chopped onion, a pinch of sage, chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, one chopped hard apple. Truss. Rub exterior with salt and butter. Drape fat pork or bacon strips on the breast. Wrap thin strips around the legs and cover the wings with them also. Place the prepared turkey in a 325� oven, breast up. There's only one rule: roast until tender. Baste frequently with a mixture of lemon juice and melted butter, and with dry sherry in the final half hour of cooking. The bird is tender when the leg joint will bend easily on moving it up and down. Remove from the oven and cut off the trussing strings. Discard the larding. Let stand for five or 10 minutes before serving.