Good Eatin’ – Roasting a Woodcock

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Progress: 727/751Food item: Woodcock

Right so I have been dancing around cooking this woodcock for nearly 4 months now. I guess I just didn’t want to deal with decapitating and eviscerating a small bird, especially one where I couldn’t help but feel just how soft the feathers on it’s head were. Still, this is all part of cooking and getting to know where your food comes from – both things that were not in my head when I started stroking the head feathers and feeling the urge to apologise.

Once I took the biggest knife I could find, lopped off the head and stuck that in the compost bin – everything was fine. I snipped out the spine with some scissors and removed the entrails with my fingers. This may be the second time where I have seen real life intestines; the first time outside of a science classroom.

Following the advice from Game-to-Eat, I fried the sides of the woodcock before roasting and resting the bird. The whole time I was cooking this, I really understood why so many websites talk about having 1-2 woodcocks per serving. This really is a little bird with not too much meat on it so, much like with the teal, I went Henry VIII on the carcass.

All the meat on this bird is dark meat, however the gaminess isn’t too overpowering. Like a number of these other game birds, the taste has a livery quality to it and the meat is actually quite dense on the bone. If I was to make this in the future, I would definitely make some sort of sauce for it. Since I only had one of these birds I didn’t see the point of doing something other than roasting it.

It might be a while before I get my hands on more game meat seeing how, as I write this, I am six months away from the beginning of the next season. Hopefully I’ll be able to find snipe next time around; I’d hope for ptarmigan and golden plover, but I don’t want to be too greedy.

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