Woodcock “Rossini” with Yellow Chanterelles and Garden Tarragon

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Main dish - Serves

    two

Appears in

Black Pudding & Foie Gras

By Andrew Pern

Published 2008

  • About

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.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 whole woodcock, dressed with head on (twist the head around the side of the body, pushing its beak through the thigh to ‘truss’ the bird).
  • 2 pieces of foie gras, approx 50 g each
  • 2 croutons of bread approx 10 cm round
  • 20 g yellow chanterelles, or similar wild mushrooms
  • sliced black truffles - as much as you can afford!
  • 200 ml game and veal jus (combination of reduced stocks)
  • unsalted butter
  • white truffle oil
  • 2 small rashers of streaky bacon
  • splash of Madeira
  • 50 g fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 220°C/gas mark 7.

Lightly brush or coat the woodcock with softened butter. Season. Place into the oven for 12 minutes. When the birds are cooked, remove from the oven. Keep warm and allow to rest on a separate tray.

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.