Chickens have soft feet, a soft and flexible breast bone, many pin feathers, and little fat. Fowls have hard and scaly feet, rigid breast bone, long hairs, and much fat surrounding the intestines.
DIGESTION OF POULTRY.--The muscle of chicken, fowl, and turkey contains little fat; the fat that exists is in layers directly under the skin and around the intestines. The fibers of the muscle are short. For this reason, and also because they have so little fat, these meats are readily digested. The white meat contains less fat than the dark.
[Illustration with caption: FIGURE 72--FOWL TRUSSED FOR ROASTING. BREAST VIEW]
DRESSING AND CLEANING POULTRY.--Singe, by holding the bird over a flame of gas, alcohol, or burning paper. Cut off the head, push back the skin, and cut off the neck close to the body. Cut through the skin around the leg one inch below the leg joint. If it is a fowl, take out the tendons; remove them separately, using a skewer (see Figure 71). Remove the pin feathers with the point of a knife or with a strawberry huller. Cut the oil bag from the tail.
[Illustration: FIGURE 73--FOWL TRUSSED FOR ROASTING,--BACK VIEW.]
The internal organs are not always removed before the chicken is sold. If they have not been removed, make an opening under one of the legs or at the vent, leaving a strip of skin above the vent. Remove the organs carefully,--the intestines, gizzard, heart, and liver should all be removed together. Care must be taken that the gall bladder, which lies under the liver, is not broken; it must be cut away carefully from the liver. The lungs and kidneys, lying in the hollow of the backbone, must be carefully removed. Press the heart to extract the blood. Cut off the outer coat of the gizzard. The gizzard, heart, and liver constitute the giblets to be used in making gravy. Wash the giblets. Place them all, with the exception of the liver, in cold water; heat quickly and cook (at simmering temperature) until tender. Add the liver a short time before removing the other giblets from the stove, as it does not require long cooking.
Clean the bird by wiping it thoroughly inside and out with a damp cloth, stuff and truss for roasting, or cut into pieces for fricassee or stew. If the bird is stuffed, the incision in the skin may be fastened together as directed for Baked Fish.
TRUSSING FOWL.--Insert a skewer through the fowl just underneath the legs, then thrust another skewer through the wings and breast. With a piece of string, tie the ends of the legs together and fasten them to the tail. Then wind the ends of the string fastened to the tail, around the ends of the skewer beneath the legs. Cross the strings over the back, and wind them around the ends of the skewer through the wings; tie the strings together at the back. If trussed in this manner, there is no string across the breast of the fowl. A fowl should be served breast side up (see Figures 72 and 73).
CUTTING A FOWL.--Cut off the leg, and separate it at the joint into "drumstick" and second joint. Cut off the wing and remove the tip; make an incision at the middle joint. Remove the leg and wing from the other side; separate the wishbone with the meat on it, from the breast, cut through the ribs on each side, and separate the breast from the back. Cut the breast in half lengthwise and the back through the middle crosswise. There should be twelve pieces. The neck and the tips of the wings may be cooked with the giblets for making gravy.
STEWED CHICKEN [Footnote 69: Stewed Chicken may be utilized for Chicken Croquettes) or Creole Stew.]
Cover the pieces of chicken with boiling water, and cook at boiling temperature for 15 minutes; then add one tablespoonful of salt and cook at simmering temperature until tender.
Arrange the pieces on a platter, placing the neck at one end of the platter and the "drumsticks" at the other, and the remaining pieces in order between. Cover with a sauce.
The chicken may be placed on pieces of toast or served in a border of cooked rice.
SAUCE FOR CHICKEN
3 tablespoonfuls tried-out chicken fat or butter or substitute 1/4 cupful of flour 1 teaspoonful salt 2 tablespoonfuls chopped parsley 1 pint stock 2 egg yolks or 1 egg 1/8 teaspoonful pepper
Prepare the sauce (see Cream Toast), and pour it over the well- beaten eggs, stirring until thoroughly mixed.