March 17th, 2011

Roasted Woodcock, Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes and Boulangere Potatoes

Even thought the game season has ended for now, I thought I ought to share this story and bank the recipe for when the next game season starts.

To put it all into perspective I thought that our move to Suffolk would be slightly harder than it actually has been. I’m talking about the integration with the local community and getting used to a slightly different way of life. Let’s face it - we are each working almost 100 hours per week and having to deal with all sorts of issues we frankly never ever needed to deal with in the past. But it’s like a marriage and we decided to take the leap into the unknown and pledge our vows for better or for worse, for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health…. and we are still here!  Happily united with the British Larder Suffolk.

At first we did not get any days off or any time away, and it’s been slightly depressing. Summer went, Autumn came and passed and then finally Winter set in. So did the game season arrive and interestingly, we felt alive as we lived in a county where our customers embraced all the seasons and enjoyed all the flavours of game we could possibly come up with.

We also made friends… and yes they are dear friends too. We met David Grimwood and Louise from the Froize Inn. David has taken us under his wing, and like a father took us by our hands and led us through our settling in period here in Suffolk. David and Louise have also been spoiling us - not only do they visit regularly but they come bearing gifts! They brought this wonderful basket filled with the best of the season’s Woodcock, along with a beautiful book and Artist’s impression of woodcock. It’s a beautiful and tasty seasonal gift, and one we appreciated a lot.

As I’m talking about our new found appreciation for game and the splendour of the short but wonderful season I should also talk about the rest of the people who helped us along the way.  There is Karen and Neil, two game farmers – Neil brings us plenty of birds in feather and they both took us along on a shoot where we were introduced to the wonderful world of beating. With the great understanding of how it all works Ross and I think we could easily settle into our new found lifestyle.

Then there is Steve and Laura; now no disrespect to the others but Steve and Laura are the young ones, but boy did they show us a snippet of real rural Suffolk life!! They took us along one very wet and rainy Monday morning to the Suffolk auction house in Campsey Ash. Let’s say I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that food is still auctioned off in this manner. It’s been a  truly fun experience and a serious eye opener to Suffolk life. We experienced a welcome to Suffolk like no other, and it’s been one huge insight into culture, creatures and family! The auction starts off with raw meat and birds, ducks, chickens, pigs etc.. and then goes onto game in feather (when in season) rabbits, snipe, wild ducks etc.. Then it moves onto live ducks, chickens and other farm yard animals, then onto fruit and vegetables, and finally, the auction ends with farm and gardening equipment and antiques all in one day and in one place. Bizarre, slightly crazy, and as I said, a real eye opener.

Roasted Woodcock

  • 2 whole woodcocks
  • 4 slices of streaky bacon
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the head and truss the birds with the slices of bacon. Roast the birds in the preheated oven for 14 minutes, rest for 10 minutes. Remove the legs and breast; return the legs to the oven to continue roasting for a further 10 minutes.

Remove the guts which should have turned into a soft pate, and stir into a boiling hot game sauce.

Remove the breast from the crown and crisp the skin in a hot pan with foaming butter.

Serve immediately.

Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes

  • 500g Jerusalem Artichokes
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 200ml white wine
  • 2 tsp truffle oil

Peel and slice the Jerusalem Artichokes into ½ cm thick rounds. Heat a non-stick frying pan with half of the butter, once it starts to foam add the sliced artichokes, then season and sauté until they start to colour. Once they are golden brown deglaze the pan with the wine and cover with a lid to cook until tender.

Once cooked add the truffle oil and set aside until needed.

Boulangere Potatoes

  • 10 large Desiree potatoes, peeled
  • 7 banana shallots, sliced
  • 50g unsalted butter + extra for greasing
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1.2 L white chicken stock
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only

Preheat the oven to 140°C and grease a 25 x 15 x 5cm baking tray with butter.

Sweat the shallots in the butter, season with salt and pepper and cook until transparent and tender, stir in the thyme leaves.

Bring the stock to the boil and remove from the heat. Using a mandoline to slice the potatoes, dip them in the hot stock, drain and layer them in the greased tray, alternate with a layer of the cooked shallots, stock and sliced potatoes, season as you go along, continue until the tray is full. Cook the potatoes in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Leave to cool, press overnight.

Cut the potatoes out and place in the serving containers. Reheat the potatoes in the oven.

To Serve

Serve the roasted woodcock on a plate with Jerusalem Artichoke puree, purple sprouting broccoli, the truffled artichokes and the Boulangere potatoes. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve and serve separately in a sauce jug.

Serves 2

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6 Comments to “Roasted Woodcock, Truffled Jerusalem Artichokes and Boulangere Potatoes”

  1. Simply beautiful! Great photography too.

  2. gabriel serrero says:

    i live in Caracas venezuela and have been fallowing your recipes they are the best in the web,the potato look deliciuos, you cook the way i like wiht class

  3. Great that you’ve discovered the wonder of Campsea Ashe! I remember a great day there a few years ago. Colossal parsnips, beautiful kale, and pheasants (really big ones, mind) for a quid. It happens occasionally, I was told. If there’s a lot of shoots in one week, a lot just get left in piles at the roadside. How sad.

  4. Miss Lemon says:

    What a great story!
    I just want to pack my suitcases and move to Suffolk immediately :-)
    You have been very lucky with all those wonderful people in your “new” lives :-) .
    Mouthwatering picture and fantastic recipe! I can no wait to visit poelier in our village again…

  5. Michelle says:

    Oh, that’s such a pretty pretty dish Madalene. I am going to try it out with some plain chicken, as I don’t think I can get any woodcock here right now. I love Jerusalem artichokes and those potatoes look divine.

  6. Another gorgeous recipe – I would happily eat this right now. Looks wonderful.

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