Randalls’ Roast Chicken and Egg Sauce is a traditional Regency recipe which could be found on many a fine table. It’s also a nice roast chicken recipe to prepare for Sunday lunch.
The chickens are all alive and fit for the table, but we save them for something grand.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
May 29, 1811
Fowls of every size and type were to be found on Regency tables, from larks and snipes to large geese and turkeys. Most were freshly prepared and the type of bird served was dependent on the season. Some were, as they are now, associated with major holidays such as Michaelmas Goose and Christmas Turkeys. Game birds were available only in the fall and winter; all others had to be reared at home or purchased from the local poulterer.
For this reason, most country homes, from small rectories to the grandest houses, kept their own poultry yards containing Pheasant, Guinea Fowl, and other more exotic birds along with the usual chickens, turkeys and geese. These were tended by dairymaids, though overseen by the housekeeper or lady of the house. Larger estates also boasted Dovecotes, which guaranteed a reliable source for fresh meat throughout the winter.
To Roast Large Fowls
Take your fowls when they are ready dressed, put them down to a good fire, singe, dust and baste them well with butter, they will be near an hour roasting, make a gravy of the necks and gizzards, strain it, put in a spoonful of browning; when you dish them up, pour the gravy into the dish, serve them up with egg sauce in a boat.
To Make Egg Sauce
Boil two eggs hard, half chop the whites, then put in the yolks, chop them both together, but not very fine, put them into a quarter of a pound of good melted butter, and put it in a boat.
The Experienced English Housekeeper, 1786
Roast Chicken with Egg Sauce
- 2 kg / 4 lb roasting chicken
- 3 tbsp butter, divided
- 5 tbsp Flour, divided
- 1 tsp Gravy Browning (such as Gravy Master)
- 2 hard cooked Eggs
- Melted Butter*
Preheat your oven to 218° C / 425° F. Remove the neck and gizzards from your chicken and set these aside. Pat your chicken dry and place it on a baking rack in your roasting pan. Sprinkle it with ¼ cup flour, rubbing it in so that it is fully coated. Melt 2 tbsp butter and pour this over the chicken, spreading it with a basting brush, if necessary to ensure even coverage.
Roast the chicken for 50-60 minutes (13-15 minutes per pound) until fully cooked and browned on top. Larger birds may be prepared in the same way. While the chicken is roasting, place the neck and gizzards in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring them to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain the broth through a colander and discard the meat and bones. Return the broth to the pot and bring it back to a boil. Add one tablespoon of butter, rolled in 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tsp gravy browning. Stir well to eliminate lumps and reduce heat to low. Keep warm until you are ready to serve your chicken.
Coarsely chop the two eggs and add them to the warm, melted butter*. Serve this sauce alongside of the chicken and gravy.
This roast chicken recipe is excerpted from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends by Laura Boyle.
Melted butter was perhaps the most common sauce to be served with any number of dishes. To make your own, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat. Quickly whisk in 2-3 tsp of flour and remove the butter from the heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the sauce will separate, thus becoming “oiled”.