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Broiled Woodcock Breasts
Of all game birds, the flesh of the woodcock is held in greatest esteem by epicures. Use only breasts for broiling. Brush with olive oil and let stand while a sauce is prepared. Stew what is left of the birds in a little water, after the breasts are removed, with a herb fagot, two diced onions and a pinch of thyme. Strain the sauce, add one jigger of brandy, one cup coffee cream, one tablespoon tart jelly. Thicken with a little flour, season generously. Broil the breasts quickly, basting with olive oil. When tender, place breasts on a warm platter, cover with sauce, garnish with a spray of parsley, serve very hot.
Make the repast simple: a green vegetable, a garden salad, toasted fingers of whole-wheat bread, a sound Burgundy at room temperature. Enjoy this superlative meat at your leisure.
Woodcock in Chafing
Pasqual was our cook when quail hunting in the Texas Panhandle. He prepared this for us on a day when a cold, penetrating wind made life uncomfortable. He had, he explained, prepared a special supper dish for us. "She warm you up like a lovely, bad woman," he chuckled. Pasqual had no morals but was a good cook.
He boiled two cups corn meal in three pints of salted water, stirring for 30 minutes, a task he delegated to his wife. He cut one pound of round steak into tiny cubes, performed the same service to one and a half pounds cooked quail, browned both in hot olive oil with one onion and one clove of garlic. Then he added one can of tomatoes, one tablespoon chili powder, salt and pepper, and stirred these ingredients into the hot mush.
The mixture was poured into an iron pot, which then went into a hot oven, covered, for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, the top of the dish was brushed with melted butter. The genial warmth of the chili powder added a glow. It lived up to Pasqual's description of an ideal supper for hungry hunters.
Quail and Juniper