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Randalls’ Roast Chicken Recipe

Roast chicken

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.
Elizabeth Raffald
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.

Serves 4


This roast chicken recipe is excerpted from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends by Laura Boyle.

*Melted Butter
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”.

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Eggnog

Many believe that eggnog is a tradition that was brought to America from Europe. This is partially true. Eggnog is related to various milk and wine punches that had been concocted long ago in the “Old World”. However, in America a new twist was put on the theme. Rum was used in the place of wine. In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog”, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog. At least this is one version…

Other experts would have it that the “nog” of eggnog comes from the word “noggin”. A noggin was a small, wooden, carved mug. It was used to serve drinks at table in taverns (while drinks beside the fire were served in tankards). It is thought that eggnog started out as a mixture of Spanish “Sherry” and milk. The English called this concoction “Dry sack posset”. It is very easy to see how an egg drink in a noggin could become eggnog.

The true story might be a mixture of the two and eggnog was originally called “egg and grog in a noggin”. This was a term that required shortening if ever there was one.

With it’s European roots and the availability of the ingredients, eggnog soon became a popular wintertime drink throughout Colonial America. It had much to recomend it; it was rich, spicy, and alcoholic.

In the 1820’s Pierce Egan, a period author, wrote a book called “Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthina Tom”. To publicize his work Mr. Egan made up a variation of eggnog he called “Tom and Jerry”. It added 1/2 oz of brandy to the basic recipe (fortifying it considerably and adding further to its popularity).

Eggnog, in the 1800s was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always used as a social drink. It was commonly served at holiday parties and it was noted by an English visitor in 1866, “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nogg for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.”

First President of the United States, George Washington, was quite a fan of eggnog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry. It was reputed to be a stiff drink that only the most courageous were willing to try.

Eggnog is still a popular drink during the holidays, and its social character remains. It is hard to imagine a Christmas without a cup of the “nog” to spice up the atmosphere and lend merriment and joy to the procedings. When you try out some of the recipes on this site, remember that, like many other of our grand traditions, there is history and life behind that little frothy brew.

Period Eggnog Recipe
Beat up the Yolks of 12 eggs with powdered sugar, then beat up with them a pint of brandy, a quart of milk; lastly beat up the whites of your 12 eggs, and add them on as a head and crown…

Eggnog
6 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 quart milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Beat eggs, sugar and salt together in a saucepan. Stir in half the milk (2 cups). On low heat, cook until mixture is thick and thinly coats a spoon. Make sure to stir constantly. Remove from heat and mix in the last of the milk and the vanilla.

Cover and chill overnight. Serve eggnog with a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Historical information provided by In Depth Info.

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