Folks, make room on your Thanksgiving tables for some delicious birds cooked Regency-style. They didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving themselves — that’s an American holiday — but swan or peacock was always appropriate for Christmas. So you can just hold onto this recipe for another month if you want to be more authentic.
I’m paraphrasing the recipe to leave out more gruesome details, but I think you’ll get the gist. Hope you have a working fireplace and spit!
Kill the peacock, then skin it gently with the skin and feathers intact. (Don’t forget to leave the head on to prove the bird is fresh!)
Clean the bird, then stuff it with herbs and spices. Thyme, rosemary, and cloves are good.
Roast it on a spit, basting with water and butter.
Then take it off the spit and put its skin back on like a jacket. Beautiful! If you really want a splendid effect, you can wire the peacock’s legs so it will seem to stand up on its platter.
If you’re not into cooking zoo animals, here’s a turkey recipe from The Jane Austen Cookbook. You’ll need that fireplace and spit again:
“When you roast a goose, turkey, or fowls of any sort, take care to singe them with a piece of white paper, and baste them with butter; dredge them with a little flour, and sprinkle a little salt on; and when the smoak begins to draw to the fire, and they look plump, baste them again, and dredge them with a little flour, and take them up.”