The "Glorious 12th of August" signals the beginning of Partridge and Grouse hunting season in England. This centuries old tradition coincided with the closing of summer parliamentary proceedings, allowing the gentlemen a opportunity to leave for country estates and shooting parties, thus escaping London's summer heat. A challenge for any housekeeper or cook was to find a way to use all the game brought in by these hunters before it had a chance to spoil. The following recipe from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse offers a "Pretty way of stewing chickens", which, the author assures us, works equally well with rabbits, partridges, or moor-game". Although grouse are related at least as closely to chicken as to any other gamebird and look somewhat like chicken, they taste remarkably unlike chicken. One can imagine the taste of this dish varying greatly depending what meat was chosen.
A Pretty way of Stewing Chickens Take two fine chickens, half boil them, then take them up in a pewter, or silver dish, if you have one; cut up your fowls, and separate all the joint-bones one from another, and then take out the breast-bones. If there is not liquor enough from the fowls, add a few spoonfuls of water they were boiled in, put in a blade of mace, and a little salt; cover it close with another dish, set it over a stove or chaffing-dish of coals, let it stew till the chickens are enough, and then send them hot to the table in the same dish they were stewed in. Note, this is a very pretty dish for any sick person, or for a lying-in lady. For change it is better than butter, and the sauce is very agreeable and pretty. N.B. You may do rabbits, partridges, or moor-game this way. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse, 1747This recipe is fairly straightforward and can be used as provided. If chaffing dish is not an option, a slow cooker or crock pot would work just as well, though stove top stewing is also suggested. Mace is a spice derived from the Nutmeg.
Enjoyed this article? Browse our giftshop at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk for Regency recipe books!