Wood cock is described by the French as “Mordorée, the golden queen of the woodland”. They have a mystery about them, being linked to only flying with the full moon, the first “fall” always about the end of October, the one nearest All Hallows’ Eve, the next longer “fall” comes with the following moon. In fact, they fly throughout the late winter months and they rely on a north-easterly wind to carry them over the North Sea from Scandinavia and northern Germany in search of food from less frozen grounds. When hunted, or flushed from its cover, it twists and turns left and right, flying more erratically as it gathers speed and with all this excitement, it proceeds to defecate and empty its bowels, thus allowing the bird to be roasted and eaten whole, innards un’ all. Gioacchino Rossini was a prolific Italian composer and also a lover of gastronomic food; most dishes bearing his name contain foie gras and truffles.
Lightly brush or coat the woodcock with softened butter. Season. Place into the
Lightly ‘fry’ the croutons in the ‘used’ roasting tray to absorb as much of the juices as possible, cook until golden brown on either side. Keep warm.
Next carve the birds, removing the breasts and legs from the carcass, slice the head in half through the beak to expose the brains. Spread the innards of the woodcock onto the crouton as a form of pâté, arrange the breasts and legs on top of the croutons with the bacon.
Finally de-glaze the roasting tin with the Madeira, add the jus, the chanterelles, any juices from the bird and the fresh tarragon, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. In a hot frying pan, fry the pieces of foie gras, season lightly. When cooked, drain and place on top of the bird, criss-cross the head and beak to the side of the plate. Spoon the hot sauce over, sprinkle with shaved fresh truffle and finish with a drizzle of white truffle oil. Indulge.
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