To Roast Black Cock and Gray Hen

¾ to 1 hour.

In season during the same time as the common grouse, and found like them on the moors, but less abundantly

Method

These birds, so delicious when well kept and well roasted, are tough and comparatively flavourless when too soon dressed. They should hang therefore till they give unequivocal indication of being ready for the spit. Pick and draw them with exceeding care, as the skin is easily broken; truss them like pheasants, lay them at a moderate distance from a clear brisk fire, baste them plentifully and constantly with butter, and serve them on a thick toast which has been laid under them in the dripping-pan for the last ten minutes of their roasting, and which will have imbibed a high degree of savour: some cooks squeeze a little lemon-juice over it before it is put into the pan. Send rich brown gravy and bread sauce to table with the birds. From three quarters of an hour to a full hour will roast them. Though kept to the point which we have recommended, they will not offend even the most fastidious eater after they are dressed, as, unless they have been too long allowed to hang, the action of the fire will remove all perceptible traces of their previous state. In the earlier part of the season, when warm and close packing have rendered either black game or grouse, in their transit from the North, apparently altogether unfit for table, the chloride of soda, well-diluted, may be used with advantage to restore them to a fitting state for it; though the copious washings which must then be resorted to, may diminish something of their fine flavour.

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