Finally ... a Recipe for Woodcock!
Many clients that have hunted with me over the years have heard (probably more than once) the time a few years back how I cooked a woodcock recipe for my soon-to-be-wife and how it took a turn for the worse. Conversely, my hard working German Shorthaired Pointers, unlike my betrothed, appreciated my efforts at preparing a dinner focusing on timberdoodles - yes, they ate well that night.
This recipe comes to us from Mark Ramel, a client of mine, who visits the north country to hunt grouse and woodcock, along with his father and a good family friend. This year, their group took quite a few woodcock, so Mark brought their livery goodness home with him, to be excellently prepared by a friend who just so happens to be a professional chef in New York City - yes, just as in life, it helps to know the right people …
6 woodcock (12 breasts), served with a side of sauerkraut. Sausage, needless to say, is a must whenever sauerkraut is in the picture.
Liberally salt and pepper
the woodcock. This could be the most
important step in the recipe.
Don't be shy and don't mention
this step to your doctor:
use lots of butter.
Dredge the woodcock breasts in
flour and/or corn starch.
Pan fry the woodcock until they are seared on the outside, and not a moment more.
Make sure you do not overcook the woodcock - rare to medium on the inside is what you're shooting for!
Prepare your sides of sauerkraut and spaghetti squash. Chef Kendall uses white wine and seasonings to sautee the squash in.
Birds removed. Leftover juices and butter used to cook down apples and garlic, finished with a Sherry demiglaze.
Mostly cooked birds.
Combined with apples & garlic and cooked until medium - medium well. I assume that this step could be to the reader's taste.
Enjoy! The object of our affections plated, with a recipe truly fit for one of our greatest gamebirds, the American Woodcock.
Thanks to Chef Kendall for his creation and Mark Ramel for documenting it. That's Kendall with Mark's son (and presumable sous chef).
You may ask how my weak attempt at cooking woodcock a few years ago for my bride-to-be affected our relationship going forward. Well, she became my wife, so I must have gotten an "A" for effort.
Since then, she has come to appreciate and love my grouse dinners …