Eight years ago on this day I wrote about the death of the very last passenger pigeon in existence (the post is here.) The recipe for the day was for Stuffed Pigeons, from the famous New York chef, Charles Ranhofer’s book The Epicurean (1894). I actually gave only the final step of the recipe, and noted that it required the prior preparation of numerous stocks, sauces, garnishes, and forcemeats. These ‘sub-recipes’ in the original text were numbered 75, 81, 89, 121, 131, 170, 178, 189, 195, 388, 392, 409, 414, 421, 422, 423, 504, 543, 747. I fully intended to give these steps – each a complete recipes in its own right – but I never got around to it. On this anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, I give you the complete set. It is exhausting reading, I promise you.
PIGEONS GARNISHED WITH MONTGLAS CASES, STUFFED.
Fasten a wooden foundation on a dish, it to be one inch high and not too wide; cover with cooked paste (No. 131) or noodle paste (No. 142) decorated on the top with a piping in relief and having a wooden or tin triangle or conical-shaped support in the center, also covered with paste and bored on top so that a skewer can be inserted. Bone the breasts of three young, clean pigeons by splitting them lightly through the back, but leaving the legs and thighs attached to the bodies; season the inside meats and fill the breasts with baking liver forcemeat (No. 81) combined with a third as much raw forcemeat (No. 89), a few spoonfuls of cooked lean ham and as much cooked truffles, all to be well chopped; sew up the back, truss as for an entrée (No. 178) with the legs thrust inside the body, bard over and wrap each one in a small buttered cloth, then cook in a good poêler stock. As soon as the pigeons are done, drain, unwrap and retighten the cloth more firmly; put them back into their stock to leave cool, then drain again and when unwrapped, wipe them carefully with a cloth. Now detach the breasts from the rump of each pigeon to cut into lengthwise slices, return them to their original position and then place the birds in a sautoir with a part of their stock reduced to a half-glaze warm them in the open oven basting frequently. Remove the pigeons to a small baking sheet, smooth the cut parts nicely and cover the breasts with a not too thick Mornay sauce (No. 504), so the form of the pigeons remain intact; place them for a moment in the hot oven to have the sauce adhere, then dress them at once in a triangle almost standing upright against the support; on top of this insert a small skewer garnished with truffles; surround the bottom of the dish with a chain of small china cases filled with montglas (No. 747), then covered with a layer of forcemeat and poached in a bain-marie; when serving this entrée send also a sauce-boatful of the reduced pigeon stock thickened with a little sauce.
(747). MONTGLAS SALPICON
Made with four ounces of truffles, eight ounces of mushrooms, eight ounces of red beef tongue and eight ounces of chicken or game livers, all cut into small sticks; if needed for a white salpicon garnishing, then mix these with either a velouté (No. 415), or suprême sauce (No. 547), or allemande (No. 407), and if for brown then use espagnole (No. 414), or chicken glaze (No. 398), with essence of mushroom (No. 392).
(131). COOKED PASTE FOR FANCIFUL BORDERS
Boil one pint of water with a quarter of a pound of butter and a grain of salt; as soon as the liquid boils remove it from the fire, and incorporate in one pound of flour so as to obtain a good paste, then replace it on to a moderate fire and stir vigorously until it detaches from the bottom of the saucepan, then remove it entirely and pour it on to a floured table; as soon as it cools off slightly, knead it with the hands, adding to it slowly one pound more flour; by this time the paste should be perfectly smooth; after it has obtained a consistency, turn it the same as puff paste, giving it seven or eight turns, having the paste remarkably smooth; it must be used at once.
(81). BAKING FORCEMEAT FOR ORDINARY USE.
Fry in four ounces of melted lard, one bayleaf, two ounces of carrots and two ounces of celery, both cut in dice, one shallot and two ounces of onions, both finely chopped, also one ounce of truffles, the same of mushrooms and one tablespoonful of chopped parsley; add its equal quantity of calf's liver and two gills of espagnole sauce (No. 414). When the meats are cooked, let the preparation first get cold, then pound and rub it through a sieve; lay this forcemeat into a bowl, cover it with buttered paper and keep it in a cool place; mix with this three tablespoonfuls of raw quenelle forcemeat, either of veal, chicken or game, in order to thicken it, but only just when ready to use. The liver may be replaced by the same quantity of cooked or raw meat, either lamb, veal, chicken or game chopped up very fine and seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
(89). CHICKEN QUENELLE FORCEMEAT, WITH SOUBISE OR TOMATO
Ingredients for these Quenelles. -One pound of chicken, half a pound of pâte à chou panada (No. 121); a quarter of a pound of butter, half an ounce of salt and nutmeg, six egg-yolks, one whole egg, one pint of chicken cream forcemeat. In order to make chicken or game forcemeats only the breasts are used, having them well pared, cut in pieces and pass through the machine. Put this into a mortar, and pound it to a pulp, rub it through a sieve, pound it once more, and add to it the panada, putting it in gradually, then the butter or udder, without stopping the pounding process, and afterward the egg-yolks one by one, season with salt and nutmeg, rub the forcemeat again through the sieve, and then lay it in a thin metal vessel on the ice, and beat it up again for a few minutes so as to render it smooth. Poach a small piece of it, and if found to be too consistent, then thin it with a little cold sauce or raw cream, and keep it in a cool place until needed. Instead of using velouté or cream, one pint of chicken cream forcemeat (No. 75), may be added, made of chicken, egg-whites and cream. Quenelle forcemeats made of chicken can be used with soubise or tomatoes by mixing in either some soubise (No. 543), or fine consistent tomato purée (No. 730), instead of the cream or velouté.
(178). TO DRESS, SINGE AND TRUSS POULTRY AND GAME FOR ENTREES
After having dressed (drawn) and singed the pieces of poultry or game, remove the fork and breastbone, lifting it out through the neck without injuring the breasts; cut the legs below the joint, suppress the drumstick bones, and slip the leg into its place, having previously burned the top of the leg with alcohol so as to remove the outer skin. To truss either capon, young turkey, pullet, chicken or guinea-fowl: first, have a trussing needle threaded with some strong string, pass it through one thigh to the other and in the joint of the thick part of the leg, then cross through the wing directing the needle toward the neck, and take up the skin of the neck while passing through it, fastening it down to the back; pass through the other wing, tighten the string so that the wings and thigh are well attached to the body of the fowl, and the breasts are quite prominent. Secondly, with the needle cross through the back near the rump, direct the needle so that it passes the thickest part of the two legs, fasten the string strongly so that the thigh is well attached to the side, thrust the posterior inside, and tie it down with a few turns of a string. To prepare geese and tame ducks for entrées, suppress the wings and neck, singe and pick them, cut off the claws, truss the legs inside, and fasten them down by crossing through with the needle at the joints of the thighs and the stumps of the wings; give them a rounded appearance, and push the posterior into the inside, and tie it firmly in place. For squabs, partridges and quails: pluck the feathers, singe and lightly pick them and draw them through the pouch; then truss them by making an incision in the rump, and tie them the same as the chickens.
(504). SAUCE À LA MORNAY.
After reducing a good béchamel sauce (No. 409), stir into it incessantly a few spoonfuls of mushroom sauce (No. 392) and some raw cream, also essence of fish (No. 388), should this sauce be needed for fish; but if otherwise then use a few spoonfuls of good chicken stock (No. 195) reduced to a half-glaze. When the sauce becomes succulent and creamy, pour it into a small saucepan, beat it smooth while heating it, and finish it off of the fire with some butter and grated parmesan cheese. This sauce is used for dishes that are bread-crumbed and for meats baked by a salamander. Its delicacy forbids it being boiled.
(414). BROWN, ESPAGNOLE OR SPANISH SAUCE
Espagnole or Spanish sauce is a leading sauce from which many smaller ones are made. To obtain a good espagnole, it is necessary to have good stock (No. 421); in case there be no stock specially prepared for this purpose, use good clear broth. For four quarts of stock, melt in a saucepan one pound of butter, stir into it the same weight of very dry, good flour, so as to obtain a clear paste; then let it cook for four or five minutes on the fire, without ceasing to stir, and afterward set it back on to a very slow fire, or in a slack oven, to let it get a good dark brown color, being careful to move it about often. When the roux is cooked, take it from the oven and dilute with the prepared stock, not having it too hot, and stir the liquid again over the fire to bring it to a boil. Should the sauce not be sufficiently smooth -should any lumps appear in it, then strain it through a fine sieve, and put it back into the saucepan; and at the first boil, set it on one side so that it only boils partially, and let it despumate in this way for two or three hours. Skim off well the fat, and strain the broth into a vessel to let get cold, meanwhile stirring frequently.
(421). BROWN, ESPAGNOLE OR SPANISH SAUCE STOCK
Butter the bottom of a thick bottomed saucepan and garnish it with slices of onions, placing on top half a pound of ham, some slices or parings of fat pork, twelve pounds of knuckle of veal, shoulder, and trimmings, six pounds of beef or parings, and moisten with one quart of beef stock (No. 194a); leave the saucepan on the fire until the broth is half reduced, then cover the saucepan and moderate the fire, continue to boil till all the moisture is reduced and falls to a glaze, which is easily perceived as the grease then becomes clear; moisten it once more with eighteen quarts of beef stock; boil, skim off the fat, and add a bunch of parsley, garnished with two bay leaves and as much thyme, basil, celery, and two cloves of garlic, also one pound of carrots cut lengthwise in four, salt, ground pepper, and a little sugar. Cook all together for six hours, skim off the fat and strain through a sieve to keep for further use. This stock is used for moistening brown roux.
(121). PâTE À CHOUX
Pâte à Choux. -Put one pint of water or broth in a saucepan with two ounces of butter, set it on the fire, remove it aside at the first boil, and incorporate into it, three quarters of a pound of sifted flour, mix well and dry on a slow fire till the paste detaches itself from the saucepan and let cool slightly, then stir into it gradually two whole eggs and four yolks, set it away in a cool place with a buttered paper over, for further use.
(75). CHICKEN OR GAME CREAM FORCEMEAT
Have one pound of chicken or game meat (the breast), free of nerves or skin, pass them twice through the machine (Fig. 47); or else chop and pound to a pulp, then press through a sieve, return to the mortar and mix in one egg-white, half an ounce of salt, red pepper and nutmeg, the equal quantity of six or eight gills of cream, before whipping; mixing it in gradually with a whip and working it well. Should the forcemeat be too thick add cream, and if it lacks consistency, more egg-white.
(543). SOUBISE SAUCE.
Cut off the stalks and roots from twelve onions after having divided them in two, throw them into boiling salted water for a few minutes, then drain, refresh, and drain them again. Heat a half a pound of butter in a saucepan, add to it the onions and fry them without coloring until well done, then pour in a pint of velouté (No. 415) and half a pint of stock (No. 422), some peppercorns and grated nutmeg. When the onions are sufficiently cooked, press them forcibly through a tammy (No. 170) and return the sauce to the saucepan on the fire, and add to it six gills of fresh cream; season properly, and incorporate in at the last moment a small piece of fresh butter.
(409). BÉCHAMEL SAUCE.
This is made by preparing a roux of butter and flour, and letting it cook for a few minutes while stirring, not allowing it to color in the slightest; remove it to a slower fire and leave it to continue cooking for a quarter of an hour, then dilute it gradually with half boiled milk, and half veal blond (No. 423). Stir the liquid on the fire until it boils, then mingle in with it a mirepoix of roots and onions (No. 419), fried separately in butter, some mushroom peelings and a bunch of parsley; set it on a slower fire and let cook for twenty-five minutes without ceasing to stir so as to avoid its adhering to the bottom; it must be rather more consistent than light. Strain it through a fine sieve then through a tammy into a vessel, and allow it to cool off while continuing to stir; set it aside for further use.
(392). MUSHROOM ESSENCE
Put one pound of mushrooms previously washed and cut in four into a saucepan with the juice of half a lemon, salt, and a pint of broth; let boil together for ten minutes; cover the saucepan hermetically and let stand till cold; strain through a fine sieve.
(388). FISH ESSENCE.
Cut in slices two pounds of bass, porgies or any other bony, and very fresh fish; put them into a saucepan and season with salt, whole peppers and half a pint of white wine. Fry lightly in butter without attaining a color, three ounces of minced onions, three ounces of carrots, a bunch of parsley garnished with two bay leaves and the same of thyme, two cloves and two shallots; add all these to the fish with one quart of water, and cook slowly for forty minutes, then strain through a fine sieve.
(195). GAME, VEGETABLE, FISH AND CHICKEN STOCK, FOR THICK SOUPS.
In order to make thick stock use consommé of game, vegetables, fish or chicken before they are clarified. Place half a pound of butter in a saucepan with half a pound of sifted flour of the best quality, let cook well on a slow fire without coloring when needed for vegetables, fish or chicken, but for game make a brown roux; for either one or the other dilute this roux with boiling broth (if the soup should be a chicken soup, chicken broth should be used to dilute the roux, if game soup then game broth should be used, fish with fish broth, for vegetable, vegetable broth). Use a whisk turning it rapidly, so as to avoid having lumps; stocks for soups should be kept rather thin, that is to say but little thickened and should be well despumated, the fat removed before passing through the tammy; return the saucepan to the fire, and stir continuously with a spatula from the bottom until the broth boils. Remove the saucepan and place it so that only one side of the contents cook slowly for one hour; skim and take off all the matter that swims on the surface until the stock be entirely free from fat, and other impurities floating on top arising from the clarification, then strain through a tammy or fine sieve, and use this stock for thick soups either of game, vegetables, fish or poultry.
(170). TO STRAIN PURÉES.
Vegetable, chicken, crustacean, and game purées are strained through a tammy (Fig. 99) in order to obtain them as fine as possible. To accomplish this it will require the service of two persons: take hold of the tammy on both sides, pour the purée into its hollow center, then have two wooden spoons one laying in the other, and press them vigorously against the tammy, allowing the purée to fall into a deep dish set underneath; this is easily accomplished and depends entirely upon the regular motion of the two spoons, as they must advance backward and forward without getting separated, or use either one of the machines shown in Figs. 99a and 99b.
(423). VEAL BLOND STOCK.
Butter the bottom of a saucepan capable of containing sixteen quarts; set in four sliced onions, and on top of these four pounds of split knuckle of veal and four pounds of shoulder of veal, two fowls, after removing the breasts, and moisten all with one quart of beef stock (No. 194a). Place the saucepan on a brisk fire, keeping the lid on, and reduce the moisture by moderating the heat of the fire, and letting the liquid fall slowly to a glaze; now moisten again with six quarts more of beef stock, season with salt and whole peppers, and add four leeks, two carrots, cut in pieces, a bunch of parsley, some celery, one bay leaf and as much thyme. Cook all slowly for six hours, then skim off the fat and strain through a fine sieve. Chop up the breasts taken from the two fowls with the same quantity of lean beef, and mix this in a little cold water, and with this meat clarify the veal blond the same as consommé; then strain it through a napkin.
Veal blond should be clear, succulent and of a nice color, the grease should be thoroughly removed from it; added to clear soups it greatly improves them; it is also used in reducing sauces.
(419). MIREPOIX STOCK AND DRY MIREPOIX
This is the essence of meats and vegetables. Put into a saucepan half a pound of chopped fat pork, fry it until melted, and then add half a pound of butter, one pound of lean veal cut in three-eighths of an inch squares, and one pound of unsmoked ham, also a pound of carrots and six ounces of onions cut in quarter inch squares, and a bunch of parsley garnished with a bay leaf and as much thyme, some basil, a clove of garlic, two cloves, and mace. Add to this a few mushroom parings, season with a little salt and mignonette, and when all the ingredients are well fried and of a fine golden color, moisten them with three quarts of remoistening (No. 189), and one pint of white wine, and a pint of Madeira wine; boil the whole slowly for two hours, then strain it forcibly through a tammy (No. 159) without removing the fat. Mirepoix is used for moistening meats, fishes, etc.
Dry Mirepoix is made of minced, raw vegetables, and roots which are fried in lard and moistened with some good stock and white wine, and allowed to reduce to dryness. It is employed to cover the breasts of fowl, game, and also meats that are to be roasted on the spit.
(422). VELOUTÉ STOCK.
Butter the bottom of a sixteen quart saucepan, having a thick bottom, cover it with sliced onions and on top of these lay four pounds of knuckle of veal and shoulder, half of each, four pounds of fowl without the breast, and moisten with one pint of remoistening (No. 189), put it on a brisk fire and cover the saucepan, as soon as the liquid is reduced to half, moderate the fire and let the sauce fall slowly to a glaze without browning, then moisten with six quarts more of white broth, skim off the fat and scum and season with salt, crushed whole peppers and a little sugar, add a bunch of parsley and celery green, garnished with two bay leaves and as much thyme, also half an ounce of basil, besides four ounces of mushroom parings or stalks and half a pound of minced carrots, then let cook for six hours, remove all the fat, add from time to time a little remoistening (No. 189), salt it to taste and strain through a sieve or a napkin. Use when needed.
(189). CLARIFIED CONSOMMÉ AND REMOISTENING.
Proportions. -When the stock (No. 194a) is ready put five quarts of it into a soup pot, adding two pounds of lean meat and three pounds of cleansed and washed fowls. Boil it up slowly, and just when ready to come to a boil, carefully remove the scum arising on the surface and then add half a pound of roasted veal. Simmer slowly until the fowl is cooked, which will take from two and a half to three hours, lifting it out as soon as it is done so as to save the breasts which will be found useful for garnishings, purées, salads, sandwiches, etc.; return what remains of the fowls to the broth once again and continue boiling for half an hour longer, skim the fat off very carefully and mix in the clarification.
Clarification. -Trim off the fat, remove the nerves from a piece of beef sufficient to obtain two pounds after it is chopped up, and mix in with this chopped meat half a quart of cold stock (or water); pour this clarification into the broth, add two ounces of minced carrots, and two ounces of minced leeks; season with salt and color the soup with caramel (No. 18); keep the liquid in a boiling state for one hour. The consommé should be perfectly clear, sapid and tasty: strain it through a silk sieve or a fine napkin and use when needed, serve in cups, or in a soup tureen with any garnishing desired.
Remoistening. -After the stock or consommé has been taken out of the pot, pour in sufficient water to have the meats entirely re-covered and boil again for three hours; remove all the fat and strain it through a napkin; do not salt this. This remoistening is used for diluting certain soups, and to moisten veal or chicken stock with which meat extract is made.