Today Virginia, from Sweet and Sour , brings us a delicious recipe, which is worth not only to prepare woodcocks, but it will also serve to cook any bird, with the touch of this spectacular sauce!

The recipe is made in a Dofeu cocotte due to the cooking it offers, but if you have a classic cocotte at home you can prepare it in the same way. To enjoy!

We are in the middle of the hunting season, and there is no doubt that it is the best excuse to delight our diners, on these Christmas dates, with special recipes, based on birds, which have been raised in the wild, feeding on what nature offers. , away from feed and hormones.

Today we will do it with some great Woodcocks. Keep in mind that the Woodcock is considered "the Queen" of Birds, and a cult bird for gourmets.

This migratory bird from the Nordic countries is somewhat smaller than a partridge. You will recognize it by its long and fine beak, about 6-8 cm. It is usually also called Chocha and Deaf despite its fine hearing. In French "Becasse" for its fine beak and in English "Woodcock", or bush chicken. On the plate it has sublime meat and taste, enveloping and with a high mineral content.

On this occasion, we are going to cook them in a cocotte, specifically in the Cocotte Doufeu from Le Creuset , because its condensation system does not allow the meat to dry out at any time, despite the long cooking times. The 90 minutes that these woodcocks will be cooking will not dry out their meat, since due to the contrast in temperatures between the very hot lid and that of the ice that is deposited on it, they will cause the juices that the woodcock gives off when cooking to condense when cooking. touch the lid in the form of vapor, and fall again in the form of rain, on them. In this way the intensity of its flavor is enhanced. Note that I am listening to you... yes, this cocotte can also be used as a traditional cocotte (without putting ice on the lid and without taking advantage of the possibility of condensation), I do it.

As for the sauce, sublime, how could it be otherwise coming from an exquisite palate like David de Jorge's. Wine, apple, chocolate... a small touch of Sherry Vinegar and another of Armagnac.

The Woodcocks will be cold macerated all night, with a mixture of red wine, with a touch of Jerez vinegar , another of Armagnac, aromatic herbs and vegetables. The prior maceration of the Woodcock will not only serve to soften the meat, but will also allow the juices of the Woodcock itself to be extracted.

Those of you who cannot find Woodcocks, which are one of the few birds that have not been bred in captivity, or simply do not like hunting, can be replaced by any bird that you like best. From some picantones for a more daily recipe, to some partridges, a guinea fowl, some pheasants for more occasional recipes... Of course, always adjusting the cooking times, until the meat is cooked.

The special presentation, because we are at Christmas and we must take care of it as much as possible. A bed of its intense reduced sauce, a thin toast, a layer of foie or mi cuit, a layer of caramelized onion and the breasts and legs of the woodcock soaked in its sauce. As a counterpoint, a touch of strawberry jam in Champagne. As I said, a sublime dish.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings)

For the stewed woodcocks:

  • 4 plucked and whole woodcocks.
  • 2 very finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 chopped leek
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 tied bundle of parsley stalks
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh sage
  • 0.75 l. young red wine
  • 1/2 glass of Armagnac or Brandy
  • 1/2 glass of Edmond Fallot Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 small russet apple, grated
  • 1 l. of meat broth
  • 2 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 2 fried bread crisps
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the assembly:

  • 8 slices of Pato Serrano foie gras
  • 4 tablespoons very poached onion
  • 4-8 day-old toasts, sliced ​​very thin and toasted
  • Strawberry jam with Tiptree Champagne
  • Ice for the Doufeu cocotte


  1. As these are game birds and not intensively farmed, they will come with feathers. So first of all, we plucked them. Keep in mind that you always have to do it pulling the feathers towards the head so as not to tear the skin. This operation should be carried out preferably on a bucket with water, so that the feathers do not fly.
  2. Once peeled, we singe them over the fire, to burn the nibs or barrels that may remain and we have not been able to remove them manually. We clean them, keeping the well-chopped viscera in a bowl and bridle them so they don't lose their shape and cook evenly.
  3. At this point, you can keep the head, removing all feathers and fur and inserting the beak through the crop. And the legs, cutting the tendon to be able to bend them well. I have not done it, despite the fact that this presentation is the most traditional.
  4. Place a cocotte and place the woodcocks breast side down, cover with the spring onion, shallots, finely chopped leeks and carrots, the aromatic herbs, black pepper, wine, sherry vinegar, Armagnac and oil made of olives. Cover the cocotte and put it in the fridge for 12 hours.
  5. On the other hand, if you are going to use the entrails, cut them very thin with a knife and mix them with a dash of vinegar and another of red wine. We cover and in the fridge too.
  6. The next day, strain the woodcocks and reserve the marinade liquid on one side and the vegetables on the other.
  7. We put our Cocotte Doufeu de Le Creuset over medium heat and when it is very hot, we add the olive oil and butter. Season the woodcocks with salt and pepper and brown them well on all sides. We withdraw and reserve.
  8. In that same fat, brown the vegetables well and add a bunch of parsley stems.
  9. Add the grated apple and continue sautéing.
  10. If we use the viscera, we fry them until they have been consumed. Add the chocolate and fried bread.
  11. We introduce the woodcocks and cover them with the liquid from the marinade and the broth.
  12. When it starts to boil, we cover the cocotte and place the ice on the lid. Stew for about 90 minutes, over low-medium heat, so that it maintains a constant soft boil.
  13. When our woodcocks are ready, we turn off the heat and remove them from their sauce, letting them warm to room temperature. Here we can either cut them in half lengthwise, or as I have done, remove the breasts on one side and the legs on the other.
  14. Blend the sauce and reduce a part of it over low heat.
  15. We return the Woodcocks to the sauce and give a heat stroke before serving.
  16. For each diner, we put a layer of reduced sauce, a couple of thin toasts on it. Cover each toast with a couple of slices of foie and a tablespoon of poached onion.
  17. We accommodate the two breasts and the two legs of each woodcock on each toast thus assembled. We water with a little more sauce and accompany with a tear of strawberry jam and champagne.
  18. A luxurious dish for a special occasion.

dofeu cocotte

Cocotte Dofeu Le Creuset


- The Woodcock is usually cooked using its entrails, which is considered the most exquisite snack, as is the case with duck liver, or chicken livers and many other similar cases. Not surprisingly, this animal has one of the cleanest intestines in nature, since it hardly keeps food inside for long enough. If you don't dare, just throw them away, but don't tell anyone.

Happy Holidays to all....
To enjoy,

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