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Friday, December 28, 2012


Photo from: fkm
sorda, becada, becada común, Ast and Gall arcea, L. Scolopax rusticola, MEng wode kok, Eng. Eurasian woodcock. It is easily confused with snipe, its relative. The woodcock lives in areas between Great Britain and Japan. In Europe, it breeds in areas between Norway and the Shetland Islands and in the extreme north of Spain. In October it migrates to SW Europe, N Africa and the Near East until February when it flies to muddy areas in the lake regions. It is a water bird with long-bill, squat-body and short legs. It inhabits humid woodlands too where there are oak and pine trees. It is most active at dusk when it goes to pastures and meadows to pound the ground with his feet in search of earthworms and larvae, its chief food supply. It eats twice its weight, i.e. about one half pound of worms per day. It grows to be about 13.5 inches long and weighs approximately a little over one fourth of a pound.  It has a tri-colored white, chestnut and dark brown coat with unusual strips that camouflage it when crouched among dead leaves. At sundown, it can be seen also in flight. Then its robust body, wide wings and long peak are most evident as well as chestnut and dark brown markings on its coat. It sings two notes in flight. It repeats the first, a low short crook, two to four times and ends with a sharp, short peep. Although a slow bird, its eyes are set almost on top of it head and has binocular vision. It can see 360°. Humans consume it as a game bird. In the Middle Ages, it was hunted in England and Spain as it was highly esteemed on the dinner table. Peasants in Guipuzcoa consumed it due to the abundance of forests in the area and there were no hunting restrictions in that part of the country during the Middle Ages. Nola’s cookbook provides a thin brown sauce for woodcock. The English normally popped it into pies or ate it roasted but for feasts it was prepared with a thick spice sauce. Medicinally, it was used to purge phlegm and for cholera. It is not explained whether this bird was cooked in a broth for this or if its excretions were used. [Austin. 1888:80; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:273; Jutglar: 1999:269; Sass. 1975:18:71:133; and Trapiello. 1994:134]


Straining livers et. al. through cloth
Photo by: Lord-Williams

2 livers of partridges or doves[1]
1 slice crustless bread, toasted
½ c white vinegar
½ c wine
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
1 shaving from fresh ginger
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp flour, at most

A Sauce to Die For
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Roast livers. Soak bread in 2 tbsp vinegar and 2 tbsp red wine.  Boil eggs until hard. Remove the yolks and grind them with the livers and bread. Blend this in ½  c red wine, ¼ c vinegar and ½ c water. Strain all through a cheese cloth into a pot. Add honey, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Bring this to a boil. If needed add just enough flour to thicken. Serve with partridges or doves.[2]

[1] If not available substitute with 1 chicken liver.
[2] chicken or other edibles. This sauce is yummy on everything!

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