To Roast Pigeons

Pigeons for roasting.

18 to 20 minutes; five minutes longer, if large; rather less, if very young.


[In season from March to Michaelmas, and whenever they can be had young]

These, as we have already said, should be dressed while they are very fresh. If extremely young they will be ready in twelve hours for the spit, otherwise, in twenty-four. Take off the heads and necks, and cut off the toes at the first joint draw them carefully, and pour plenty of water through them: wipe them dry, and put into each bird a small bit of butter lightly dipped into a little cayenne (formerly it was rolled in minced parsley, but this is no longer the fashionable mode of preparing them). Truss the wings over the backs, and roast them at a brisk fire, keeping them well and constantly basted with butter. Serve them with brown gravy, and a tureen of parsley and butter. For the second course, dish them upon young water-cresses, as directed for roast fowl aux cressons. About twenty minutes will roast them.