For me woodcock and snipe are the two best game birds in the entire world. They are quite small: woodcock needs roasting in a hot oven for only about 20 minutes and snipe for even less time. Best of all would be to wrap them in fatty bacon, truss them and spit-roast them over the embers of an open fire. You will probably never do that, so let’s go back to the oven plan.
You must remove the gizzards of the plucked birds when drawing them, but leave the heart and liver inside. Wrap them in either pig’s caul or fatty bacon, truss them with string and roast with a knob of butter at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). When they are cooked, take off the string, cut them in half, scrape the heart and liver into the juices of the roasting tin and put the birds to one side to keep warm. Add a good dash of brandy to the juices in the roasting tin and, if you have a little cube of frozen game glaze add that too and bubble it all up, mashing in the heart and liver. Add a knob of butter and season with salt and pepper. Set the half-birds on to pieces of bread fried in dripping or lard and pour the sauce over them. This is the classic British way of preparing these delectable birds and a perfect excuse to drink some fine old Burgundy.
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