Woodcock with Beurre Noir and Capers


  • 2 woodcock.
  • 25g butter.
  • 1kg potatoes.
  • Milk.
  • Butter.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • 75g of butter.
  • 2-3 teaspoons of capers.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7.
  2. Boil the potatoes then drain and mash well.
  3. Add plenty of butter and milk, beating vigorously until you have a puree the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
  4. Season well, place some kitchen paper under the lid of the saucepan and keep warm.
  5. Melt the 25g butter in a small roasting pan and, when foaming, put in the wooodcock.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and baste well and then roast for 20 minutes.
  7. Give the potato puree a final beating.
  8. Place a good dollop on each plate and sit a woodcock on top.

For the sauce:

  1. Melt the 75g of butter in a pan and, when it begins to turn brown, remove from the stove and add the capers.
  2. Despite the name, do not let the butter turn black.
  3. Spoon over the birds and serve immediately.
  4. A watercress salad is all you need as an accompaniment.

Traditionally you cook woodcock with the entrails in the bird, which you then spread on fried bread and then serve the bird on top of the bread. If this sounds too strong for you, here is an alternative recipe.

Courtesy of Prue Coat’s book “Prue’s New Country Cooking”.