Freshly shot woodcock
Warm buttered toast
Wondering what to do with those woodcock you bagged in the shoot at the weekend? Well here’s the recipe for you… No, I realise this isn’t the most practical recipe for a student , but it is the best thing I’ve eaten in a while. Woodcock, if you didn’t know (and I didn’t two weeks ago) is a game bird similar in size to a partridge, though rarer and with a much finer flavour.
If you do seek them out, you’re probably going to need to pluck them yourself. But don’t panic, its surprisingly simple – and, if I’m honest, strangely enjoyable. I think I’d rather not know what that says about me. Dressing – or drawing out the innards – would usually follow, but
mercifully with woodcock it’s not necessary. (Dressing a bird is not as disgusting as you might think; I once helped teach some scouts how to dress chickens, one boy enjoyed it so much he stuffed the guts back in so he could do it again.) But as I was saying, your hands can remain relatively unbloodied. This is because you can eat all those lovely bits, which have a very pleasant taste somewhere between chicken liver and game.
First, however, you need to roast your birds. Once plucked, season and lay two strips of bacon on top. Roast 15 mins in a hot oven. Take out the bacon after 5 mins and dice. When done, remove the birds and scrape out all of those delectable innards. Now throw them, the bacon and a tablespoon of wine in a frying pan, and stir and squash everything together.
To serve, spread the mixture over buttered toast and sit a bird on top.
One last note, for those willing to try, the brain is particularly good.