Roast Woodcock with Mixed-Berry Sauce

The woodcock is the most sought after of all game birds and if you try this elegant recipe, you’ll fully understand why. The sauce, made with blackberries, redcurrants, blueberries and cranberries is the ideal complement to woodcock’s rich and delicious flavour.


  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Serves: 4 People


  • 4 whole woodcock (plucked, not dressed)
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil 

  • 50g butter
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 100g blackberries

  • 100g redcurrants, stalks removed
  • 100g blueberries

  • 100g cranberries

  • salt and freshly ground pepper 


  1. Prepare the woodcock - with kitchen string or twine, tie the wings against the bodies of the birds and tie the legs together. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole (Dutch oven) over high heat, add the woodcock and sear for 5 minutes until coloured on all sides. Pour in the vinegar and deglaze
 the casserole by scraping the cooking juices o the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon or fish slice (spatula) and incorporating them into the vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Pour in 400 ml/14 oz (1 2/3 cups) water, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. When the woodcock are cooked, remove them from the casserole and put onto a large platter. Add the fruits to the casserole and heat through for 3 minutes, stirring gently. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then put the woodcock back into the sauce. Serve with celeriac purée.

This recipe was originally published in Recipes from the Woods by Jean-Francois Mallet.