To Roast a Pheasant

Pheasant trussed without the head.
¾ hour; a few minutes less, if liked very much underdone; five or ten more for thorough roasting, with a good fire in both cases.

[In season from the beginning of October to the end of January. The licensed term of pheasant shooting commences on the 1st of October, and terminates on the 2nd of February, but as the birds will remain perfectly good in cold weather for two or three weeks, if from that time hung in a well-ventilated larder, they continue, correctly speaking, in season so long as they can be preserved fit for table after the regular market for them is closed: the same rule applies equally to other varieties of game.]

Method

Unless kept to the proper point, a pheasant is one of the most tough, dry, and flavourless birds that is sent to table; but when it has hung as many days as it can without becoming really tainted, and is well roasted and served, it is most excellent eating. Pluck off the feathers carefully, cut a slit in the back of the neck to remove the crop, then draw the bird in the usual way, and either wipe the inside very clean with a damp cloth, or pour water through it; wipe the outside also, but with a dry cloth; cut off the toes, turn the head of the bird under the wing, with the bill laid straight along the breast, skewer the legs, which must not be crossed, flour the pheasant well, lay it to a brisk fire, and baste it constantly and plentifully with well flavoured butter. Send bread-sauce and good brown gravy to table with it. The entire breast of the bird may be larded by the directions of Chapter X When a brace is served, one is sometimes larded, and the other not; but a much handsomer appearance is given to the dish by larding both. About three quarters of an hour will roast them.

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