STUNNING MEMBER OF THE GENUS
OFTER REFERRED TO AS “THICK-KNEES”
Photo by: oldscroteshome.blogspot.com
L. Burhinus oedicnemus, Ar. al-karawän, MEng curlewes, curleus, curles, Eng. stone curlew. It is a large wading bird (l.40 cm) having an awkward appearance with long legs looking like stilts, big yellow eyes and a round head. It is a resident of Spain, northern Morocco, the Near East, Turkey and Iraq. In late March, migrants go to England, among other areas, leaving in late August. In the Middle Ages, it was roasted whole and basted with a egg yolk and saffron paste. The meat could be cut up and served in stew with garlic, savory, galantine, hyssop, sage, parsley, and red wine. Curlews could be baked in a pie like ‘five and twenty black birds,’ but not alive. At the inauguration of John Stafford as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1443, curlew was served with other game birds. The medieval cuskynoles or ryschewys close was an English variation of roasted curlew stuffed with fruit. The British Library Add 32085 instructs how to cut it into nine portions. Villena, on the contrary, advises that it should be cut in the same manner as the partridge, see perdiz. Laza explains that it was used by quacks in the canyon region of Chorro in Malaga to cure scars from scrofula or horse disease. It is mentioned in la Celestina. See untos. [Curye. 1985:183; ES: “Stone.” Dec 31, 02; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:138; Jutglar. 1999:238; Laza. 2002:91 and Villena/Calero. 2002:22a:28a]
Beach Stone Curlew (thick-knee)
Photo by: Andrew Ian Bell
STEWED CURLEW IN HONEY SAUCE RECIPE FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF
for 4 persons
2 stone curlew (as average weight is 1 lb each)
2 garlic cloves mashed
1 onion quartered
1 tsp savory chopped
1 tsp galantine chopped
2 tbsp hyssop chopped
1 tsp sage chopped
2 tbsp parsley
salt to taste
1 c red wine
1 bullion cube
2 tbsp flour
Remove all the feathers. Cut off neck. Cut off head from neck. Cut off legs at knees. Extract entrails and rub skin with salt to clean inside and out. Wash well with water. Remove the wings and the thighs with the legs. Chop the legs off at the thighs. Chop the breast in half lengthwise and each half widthwise. In a pot put the garlic, savory, galantine, hyssop, sage, parsley and wine. Add the curlew except the head, claws and entrails. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently boil for one hour until tender.
When almost done, remove the onion. Chop in a food processor with one cube of bullion and enough liquid to mash well. Place in a saucepan and slowly add flour, stirring continually. When the flour is dissolved slowly add 1 c broth. Heat until the substance thickens like gravy. Place enough olive oil in a metal measuring cup to swirl around and coat the sides. Discard the excess. This way after measuring the honey, it will not stick to the measuring cup. Pour the honey into the gravy and stir until mixed.
Pour the sauce over the curlew and serve.
*Chances of having to cook a stone curlew are few as it is an endangered species today. Also as it feeds on fish, like the solan goose (see alcatraz), the meat has a fishy taste. It is perfectly all right to try this recipe with other fowl.