Woodcock in Claret

This woodcock recipe is very easy to prepare, and the flavour of the claret marvellously complements the game. If woodcock is not available, use partridge or grouse instead. Serve Woodcock in Claret with Parsley Potatoes and steamed broccoli. TO save time and effort, ask your butcher to cut the woodcock meat from the carcass.

8 fl. oz. home-made chicken or game stock

4 woodcock, flesh removed from carcasses and cut into serving pieces, and carcasses reserved

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped

2 carrots, scraped and finely chopped

6 juniper berries, crushed

1 parsley sprig

1 bay leaf

2 black peppercorns, crushed

1 mace blade

1 oz. butter

4 fl. oz. claret

2 teaspoon salt

Pour the stock into a large saucepan and add the woodcock carcasses, the onion, celery, carrots, juniper berries, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns and mace. Bring the liquid to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 1 hours. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the liquid into a bowl. Discard the contents of the strainer.

Allow the liquid to cool and skim off any fat from the surface. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and place over high heat. Boil until the liquid has reduced to 3 fluid ounces . Remove the pan from the heat.

In a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the woodcock pieces and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Set aside.

Set the pan containing the liquid over moderate heat. Add the claret and salt and bring the liquid just to boiling point.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the woodcock pieces and simmer for 10 minutes or until the woodcock is cooked and very tender.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the contents of the pan into a warmed serving dish and serve at once.

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