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Monday, October 08, 2007

Bécasses - Woodcock

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This recipe is an example of how different modern cooking is from the “old ways.” My French readers will have to comment on the current addition of innards [other than cooked, mashed liver to act as a liaison] and faisandée techniques as still in use today—in America, I do not believe they are the norm.

Woodcocks with wine. Divide the woodcocks in four, remove the insides [*see note following] & put them aside to thicken the sauce; put your woodcocks in a pan with sliced truffles, calf sweetbreads, mushrooms & will foam [a type of mushroom], & brown them altogether in melted fat, & moisten it with ox juice [sweated meat, cooked slowly to remove the juice—think bouillon or consommé]; season with salt, pepper, Welsh onion [scallions], & add two glasses of wine; bring to boil & when that is well cooked, stir into the sauce the insides* of the woodcocks which you have reserved to bind the sauce, & serve hot with the juice of lemon or orange which you will press above [at the last minute].

*innards as thickening or binder [La Cuisine, Raymond Oliver. Tudor, New York, 1969: p. 526-528] “Pluck the snipe [or woodcock] without drawing it [not removing innards] and bard it [prick it—wrap in bacon--I use turkey or beef bacon or chicken or goose fat pounded and tied around bird] … cook it … Remove gizzard from the bird’s innards and discard it. Put the [rest of the] innards on a plate and mash them with a work. … simmer with smashed bones, strain and serve over meat. … Do not draw the plucked snipe [woodcock], but bard it and tie them, place on spit. Fry bread slices in goose fat, rub with garlic and place in a dripping pan under spit or rotisserie pin, so that the juices from the roasting bird[s] will fall on the bread. The bird is cooked when its interior juices start flowing, that is, in about 15 minutes. Remove from spit and remove bard and innards. Throw away the gizzard, but mince the other innards and spread them on the fingers of toasted bread [from the dripping pan]. Season slices with salt and pepper and fry slices again, spread side down, in a little butter or goose fat. Put bird on a very hot dish, and flame with rum. Cut into halves and put each half on a slice of the fried bread that absorbed the cooking juices. Serve immediately. … Pluck and draw the bird. Discard gizzard; mince the rest of the innards and combine with salt pork [turkey or beef bacon] and … and stuff bird with this mixture, sew it closed and truss it.

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange, translated Paul Aratow. Ten Speed Press, 2005:p. 397-8. “Woodcock and snipe is only roasted or prepared in a salmi. To develop ita aroma, it should be lightly “cured” (faisandée – it must hang for several days between killing and cooking [it implies the point just before mortification immediately preceding the extreme state of decomposition). … Do not gut the woodcock [but do pull the gizzard through the neck of the bird before spitting]. … bard and cook … heat butter in a small saucepan; add the intestines and season lightly; cook on gentle heat. Then smash them into a purée. Spread this purée on the fried crouton [as in Oliver’s description above]. Deglaze pan with cognac and strain sauce through a chinois and serve with game.

Bécasses au vin. Coupez les bécassess en quatre, ôtez-en les dedans & les mettez à part pour en faire une liaison, mettez ensuite vos bécasses dans une casserole avec des truffes coupées par tranches, des ris de veau, des champignons, des mousserons, & passez le tout ensemble avec lard fondu, & le mouillez de jus de bœuf; assaisonnez le tout de sel, poivre, ciboule, & y mettez deux verres de vin; faites bouillir le tout, & quand cela sera bien cuit, vous délayerez bien dans la sauce le dedans bécasses que vous avez reserve pour lier la sauce, & vous les servirez chaudement avec un jus de citron ou jus d’orange que vous presserez dessus.
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Woodcocks in Salmi [ragout of game previously roasted]. Roast them with the pin [rotisserie], & when they are half-cooked, cut them in pieces & put them in a pan with wine, according to the quantity of the woodcocks; there add chopped truffles & mushrooms, a little anchovy & capers, good seasoning [salt & pepper], & cook until done: draw up the woodcocks [onto serving plate] & keep warm while binding the sauce with some good purée [of previously cooked and reduced and puréed vegetables and their seasoning juices]. Squeeze the juice of an orange into the sauce and serve warm.

Bécasses en Salmi. Faites-les rôtir à la broche, & quand elles seront à demi-cuites, coupez-les par morceaux & les mettez dans une casserole avec du vin, y en mettant ce qu’il en faut suivant la quantité des bécasses; ajoutez-y des truffes & des champignons hachés, un peu d’anchois & de câpres, bon assaisonnement, & faites cuire le tout: étant cuit, liez la sauce avec quelque bon coulis; ensuite dressez les bécasses & les tenez chaudement sans qu’elles bouillent. Auparavant que de servir, vous y presserez un jus d’orange, & servirez chaudement.

La nouvelle maison rustique, ou, Économie generale de tous les biens de campagne: la manière de les entretenir & de les multiplier : donée ci-devant au public / par le Sieur Louis Liger. Paris : Saugrain, 1755, Tome II, IV. Part. LIV. IV. Chap. I. La Cuisine. B., p. 799-800.

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