“Peacock” done in the Italian Style

Normally I would try to actually use the main ingredient listed.  This time, not so much.  Peacock is, unless you raise the birds your self, EXPENSIVE!!  So a good substitute needs to be found.  You could use pheasant…but they to are a bit expensive.  I went with skinned duck.  A good dark meat fowl that is in the affordable range and once the skin is stripped fairly lean.

Peacock done in the Italian Style

Original:

“If you want to roast the small ones on a spit, as soon as they are caught pluck them dry and draw them; leave their head and feet on.  Stuff them with a little beaten pork fat, fresh fennel, beaten common herbs, raw egg yolks and common spices – which is done to keep them from drying out.  Sew up the hole and arrange their wings and thighs so they are snug.  Sear them on coals.  Wrap them, sprinkled with salt and cloves, in a calf or wether caul, or else in slices of pork fat with paper around them…When they are done serve them hot. (Scappi, pp. 206)

Ingredients:

Peacock (or edible bird substitute)

4 egg yolks

1 fennel

1 ½ lbs of bacon (6-8 Bacon strips and ½ lb bacon pieces)

1/2 tbs salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tbs flour

Redaction:

Italian Peacock #1

For the fennel stuffed duck the majority of prep work is getting the stuffing made.  First I gathered all the spices together.

The bacon and fennel were cut into small pieces, with the egg yolk and spices added next.

 

Everything was mixed together as evenly as possible coating the fennel and bacon with the finer spices and egg yolk.

The young duck, with out neck or head attachment,

 

was skinned ready for stuffing.  Yes this gets very messy!

The mixture was then stuffed into the duck.

 

The duck after being stuffed was wrapped in bacon slices.  I had to affix the bacon with skewers.  Toothpicks would have worked; however I was out of those.

This duck is not being suggestive, merely showing all the yummy stuff just waiting to happen.

The duck was then placed on a rack in the oven for an hour and a half.

This is a very tasty way to eat duck.  The bacon and fennel contemplate each other with the egg yolks.  The skewers were determined to stay in, more then I was willing to yank the cooked duck apart.

I have done this recipe using ducks with their heads.

The duck can be “formed” to have an upright look using skewers down the throat and pinning the neck to the chest.

This method is messy and irritating.  I preferred cooking with out the neck and head attached.  However I know realize why and how the metal skewers were used for maximum effect when cooking peacocks.  Bamboo or even wooden skewers do not curve or bend in natural ways to get the best effect

However cooked duck with a head attached just looks very unhappy and not nearly as appealing as the non-headed duck dish.  In period, as previously described, the eyes would have been replaced with some thing nicer like rubies.

 

 

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