Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken on a String

Several recipes describe cooking on a string, as does my modern interpretation at the end.  If the cotton twine is wrapped around the body correctly it will turn on its own without the cook twisting the string.

To roast a Pigeon
Take some parsley shred fine, a piece of butter as big as a walnut, a little pepper and salt; tie the neck end tight; tie a string round the legs and rump, and fasten the other end to the top of the chimney-piece. Baste them with butter, and when they are enough lay them in the dish, and they will swim with gravy. You may put them on a little spit, and then tie both ends close.
Glasse, Hannah. Art of Cookery. Alexandria: 1805

To roast Pigeons.
Take a little pepper and salt, a small piece of butter, and some parsley cut small; mix these together, put them into the bellies of your pigeons, tying the neck ends tight; take another string, fasten one end of it to their legs and rumps, and the other to the mantle-piece. Keep them constantly turning round, and baste them with butter. When they are done, take them up, lay them in a dish, and they will swim with gravy.
Carter, Susannah. The Frugal Housewife. NY: 1804

An earlier edition of Glasse [1747] suggests to "… tie the Neck-end close, so that nothing can run out, put a Skewer through the Legs, and have a little iron on purpose, with six Hooks to it, on each hook hang a Pigeon, fasten one End of a string to the Chimney, and the other End to the Iron…"

Making the recipe
To roast a chicken, or other meat on an all-cotton string or vine by the fire. Wash and dry a whole chicken thoroughly. Roll an ounce of butter in parsley, salt and pepper or just take some sprigs of herbs or plain. Put it in the chicken cavity and stitch up the chicken with twine or sharpened twig. Usually I don't stitch the holes together.  Wrap the string around the wings, legs and body of the chicken. Leave excess string at ends (but tuck in the excess so not near the fire) so when the breast end is cooked, flip the chicken so the other end is nearer the fire.

©2009 Patricia Bixler Reber

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