The Country Housewife, by Richard Bradley


Pheasants are still in season, and are now chiefly roasted, for they are not so frequently boiled, till about April, and then only the Hens when they are full of Eggs; but that, I think, is too destroying a way. The boiled Pheasants are generally dressed with Oyster–Sauce, or Egg–Sauce, but the roasted are either larded on the Breast with fine Bacon Fat, or else roasted and strew’d with Crumbs of Bread: these, says the Suffolk Gentleman, who sent me the foregoing Method of ordering the Woodcock and Snipe, should be served with the same Sauces that are used for Partridges. The Sauces in his Directions are within a trifle the same as those I have already set down in September for Partridges or Quails, so that I shall not repeat them here.

The Truffle, which I have treated of at large as to its manner of Growth and Season of Maturity, in my Gentleman and Farmer’s Monthly Director, affords such Variety of agreeable Dishes, that I have taken care to send to a curious Gentleman abroad for the Receipt how to dress it: They are very plenty in our Woods in England, as I understand by several who have found them this Summer by my Directions, and I believe will be much more so, since several curious Gentlemen have followed my Advice in propagating them. It is now, as well as in the two preceding Months, that we may find them of a fine Flavour; but they being something more in perfection in this Month than in the others, I think it the properest to give the Methods of ordering them for the Table in this place: The first manner is to broil them.

To broil Truffles.

The Truffle being brought in fresh, wash it well, and cut off the rough Coat on the outside: some of these will be as large as one’s Fist, and they are the best for this purpose; but let them be of any size, as soon as the Coat is off, cut them through a little more than half-way, and put Pepper and Salt into the opening, and close it again; then wrap up each Truffle in wet Paper close, and broil them over a gentle Fire of Wood–Embers till you judge they are enough, which will be as soon as they are very hot quite through; let them be turn’d as occasion requires, that they may be all equally done, and then serve them to the Table in a folded Napkin. This is a very good way of eating them, but the other I have more frequently eaten.

To Stew Truffles in Wine.

The Truffles must be peel’d from the rough Coat on the outside, and well-wash’d; then cut your Truffles into Slices, and stew them in White wine, or Claret, which you please, with Salt, Pepper, and a Bay-leaf; or in the lieu of that, some Jamaica Pepper, and serve them. White-wine for this use is generally preferred.

To Stew Truffles after another manner.

Gather Truffles, peel them and wash them, and then cut them in Slices, after which fry them a little in a Stew-pan, with either Butter or Hog’s-Lard, and a little Wheat–Flower; then take them out and drain them, and put them again in a Stew-pan with Gravey, a bunch of Sweet–Herbs, some Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg grated; and when they have stewed a little in this, strain the Liquor, and dish them for the Table, garnished with Slices of Lemmon. Besides this way, they may be used in the same manner as Fowls are stewed or fricasseed, with brown or white Sauces, after they have been soften’d a little by boiling.

While I am speaking of the Truffle, I may well enough mention the Receipts for the management of the Morille. Altho’ the Morille grows in April, which is the only time when it may be gather’d fresh, yet one may dress the dry’d ones now, by first softening them in warm Water and Salt for three or four Minutes; but, as observ’d before, they are best fresh gather’d. And again, I chuse to put the Receipts for their Management in this place, because they are so near a-kin to the Truffle. In the first place, I shall speak of drying them, which I have done in England, after the following manner: Gather, and wash them, and when they are well drain’d, then lay them in a Dish, and dry them by degrees in a gentle Oven; and when they are throughly dry, keep them in a dry place, and in a cover’d earthen glazed Pot; but when they are fresh, order them according to the following Receipts. And I am the more ready to give these to the Publick, because all such who know the nicest way of eating, may nor be disappointed in their Travels thro’ England, and denied at the Inns such things as perhaps are as agreeable in that way, as any in the Country. Particularly I remember at Newberry, or Spinhamland, in the publick Road to Bath, I was at the most publick and noted Inn in that Road, and had got some very good Mushrooms, and the People there were of opinion that they were poisonous, or else did not know how to dress them, and by no means they would send them to the Table. I say, if such mistakes can be made in a place where so many People of fashion travel continually, it is not likely that Morilles or Truffles will be received with more favour than my Mushrooms; and I believe that some of the greatest Niceties of our Country may ever remain unknown, without a Work of this nature, which I have pick’d up inch by inch, viz. in my Travels. And besides, considering the strange disagreeable Compositions which one meets with in some of our Travels, as Sugar with a pickled Trout, and many more as ridiculous; I think this little Piece of Work not unworthy my Time. Again, there are many Families in England which have plenty about them, and do not know what to do with it; and therefore I think this the more necessary. But to come to my point, the Morille may be dress’d when it is either fresh or blanch’d in warm Water, according to the following Receipts, which I had from France.

To make a Ragout of Morilles.

The Morilles being fresh gather’d, take off the Roots, and wash them in many Waters, for the Wrinkles in their Tops harbour a great deal of Dirt and Sand; then slit them lengthways, and fry them a little in a Stew-pan, with Butter or Hogs–Lard, letting either be very hot when you put in the Morilles; then let them drain, and put them in a fresh Stew-pan with Gravey, in which shred some Parsley and Cherville very small, with a young Onion, some Salt, and a little Nutmeg: let these stew gently, and send them to the Table garnish’d with slices of Lemmon, or they may be sent to the Table in Cream, as we have already mentioned concerning other things in the same manner.

To fry the Morilles.

Prepare your Morilles as directed in the former Receipt, and boil them in a little Gravey gently; when they begin to be tender, take them out of the Liquor, and flower them very well, then fry them in Hog’s-Lard: when they are thus prepared, make a Sauce for them of the Liquor or Gravey the Morilles were stew’d in, season’d with Salt, Nutmeg and a little Juice of Lemmon.

The following Directions I had from a Gentleman in Suffolk. The Turkey is now in good Season, and may be either boiled or roasted; when it is boiled, it is most commonly served with Oyster–Sauce, and when it is designed for roasting, it may be larded with fine Fat of Bacon on the Breast, or else well strew’d with Crumbs of Bread, having first made a Farce to fill the Hollow of the Neck, where the Crop lay; this Farce may be made of grated Bread, Spice, Salt, butter’d Eggs, and some sweet Herbs powder’d, the whole well mix’d and bound with the Yolk of a raw Egg; or the Liver of a Fowl may be boiled and chop’d small and put into it. The Receipt as I receiv’d it directs Beef–Suet chop’d small instead of butter’d Eggs; but Mr. John Hughs, a noted Cook in London, tells me that Suet should be avoided in these Farces, because it is apt to cool too soon, and offend the Roof of the Mouth, and therefore directs butter’d Eggs in their stead. As for the Sauce for the roasted Turkey, it must be made with Gravey, a Bunch of sweet Herbs, some Lemmon-peel, a Shallot or two, and some whole Pepper and All-spice boiled together and strained.

Concerning the Lark, which is now in Season, the abovemention’d Gentleman gives the following Directions: Let the Larks be pick’d only and not gutted, truss the Legs, with a Leaf of red Sage to every Lark between the Joints of the Legs; then with a Feather, dip’d in the Yolk of an Egg beaten, wash the Body of every Lark, and cover it well with Crumbs of Bread; after which, cut some thin Slices of fat Bacon, about three Inches long, and an Inch broad, and lay the Larks in a row, side to side, with a piece of this Bacon between every two Larks; then have small Spits about ten Inches long, and pass the Spits thro’ the Sides of the Larks and the Bacon, so that you have half a dozen Larks upon each Spit, observing to have a piece of Bacon on both the outsides of the half dozen Larks; baste these well while they are roasting, and for the Sauce for them, fry some grated Bread crisp in Butter, and set them to drain before the Fire, that they may harden; serve these under the Larks when you send them to Table, and garnish with Slices of Lemmon. Some have their Lark–Spits made of Silver, and serve their Larks upon the Spits to the Table, by which means they keep hot the longer: you may eat them with Juice of Lemmon with the fry’d Crumbs, but some like such Gravey–Sauce with them as is directed for the roasted Turkey. Tho’ the Guts are left in the Larks, yet they are not to be eaten.

In my Travels I observed a kind of Soup, which was very frequently used abroad, and quickly ready, that was very taking to most Travellers who delighted in savoury Dishes, which the People abroad call Soup a l’Yvrogne. It is made as follows.

Take half a score Onions, peel them, and cut them in small Pieces into a Stewpan, and fry them brown with Butter, and a little Pepper and Salt; and when they are enough, pour such a quantity of Water upon them as you think proper to make a Soup of them; then let these boil together, and thicken it with as many Eggs as are neccessary, keeping it stirring to prevent the Eggs from Curdling. Some add to this a large Glass of White-wine, which I think makes it better tasted than ’tis without it: this is served with a French Role in the middle. At the same time I met with the following Receipt for Beef A-la-mode, which is as good as any I have eaten.

To make Beef A-la-mode.

Take a fleshy piece of Beef, without Fat, and beat it well with a Rolling pin, then lard it with pretty large pieces of Bacon–Fat, and if you please put over the Fire a little to fry till the outside is brown, and then put it to stew in a deep Stew-pan, or glaz’d Earthen–Vessel, with Salt, Pepper, Bay–Leaves or Jamaica Pepper, some Lemmon–Peel, half a dozen large Mushrooms, two Gloves of Garlick, or four or five Cloves of Shallot, half a Pint of Wine, and a Pint of Water; cover it close, and let it stew gently till it is tender: when it is enough, fry some Flower in Hogs–Lard, and add to it, with some Lemmon–Juice, or a little Verjuice. This is very good hot, but is for the most part eaten cold, cut in Slices of about half an Inch thick.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54