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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/854

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1341.—WOODCOCK, ROASTED. (Fr.Bécasse Rôtie.)

Ingredients.—Woodcocks, toast, bacon, butter for basting, good brown gravy (see Gravies), watercress.

Method.—The skin of these birds is particularly tender, therefore they must be plucked very carefully. They are trussed in the same manner as other birds for roasting, but the head is skinned and left on, the long beak of the bird being passed through the legs and body in place of a skewer. Brush over with warm butter, fasten a thin slice of fat bacon over each breast, and hang them on the spit feet downwards to roast. Put the toast under to receive the drippings from the trail, baste frequently with hot butter, and roast for about 15 minutes, or 4 or 5 minutes less when preferred very much underdone. Serve on the toast, garnish with watercress, and send the gravy to table in a sauce-boat.

Time.—About 15 minutes. Average Cost, from 3s. 9d. to 5s. per brace. Seasonable from August 1 to March 15.

The Woodcock (Fr. bécasse) is a long-billed bird of the same genus as the snipe, and migratory in its habits. It arrives in flocks in Britain in March and April, returning to warmer climates in the autumn. It is also found during the winter in Aleppo and Japan. The woodcock is about 12 inches in length, and weighs about 12 oz. Its colour is brown, variegated with darker hues; the tail is black, tipped with grey. Its eggs are brownish-white, mottled with brown. The wood-cock is a shy bird, and difficult to capture. It feeds at early morn and at dusk; its principal food are worms. The flesh of the woodcock is held in high estimation. This bird is common in North America and resembles the European woodcock in its plumage and habits, but is of a smaller size.