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There's no grouse with this tasty bird.

THE best way to appreciate the unique flavour of grouse is to serve it simply without fancy sauces and garnishes - a perfectly cooked bird accompanied by bread sauce and game gravy is all that is required. Serve with a bowl of rowan jelly and plain boiled potatoes.

Traditional roast grouse

Serves 4


onion, studded with three cloves

5 bay leaves

5 fresh thyme sprigs

1 garlic clove, crushed

100g/3oz unsalted butter

300ml/ pint milk

12 juniper berries

4 young oven-ready grouse

4 slices bread

90ml/3fl oz clarified butter (See Tip)

300ml/ pint red wine

1 tbsp cassis

600ml/1 pint game stock

2 tbsp sunflower oil

175g/6oz fresh breadcrumbs

Maldon salt and freshly ground white pepper

Fresh watercress, to serve


1 Start the bread sauce: place the onion, one bay leaf, a thyme sprig, the garlic, 55g/2oz of unsalted butter and milk in pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes, remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

2 Place three juniper berries, one thyme sprig and one bay leaf into the cavity of each bird, then smear the outside of each bird with 25g/1oz unsalted butter and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.

3 Make the croutons: using a scone cutter stamp out 4x6cm/2in discs of bread. Heat the clarified butter and gently shallow fry the discs until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and reserve.

4 Make the gravy: combine the red wine, cassis and stock in a pan and reduce until it starts to thicken. Whisk in 15g/oz of butter, season and keep warm.

5 Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Heat a 30cm/12in black-iron frying pan until it is very hot. Add the sunflower oil and place the birds, breast-side down, in the pan and cook for two minutes.

6 Turn the birds on to their undersides and place the pan in the oven and cook for eight minutes. Remove pan and stand in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.

7 Finish the bread sauce: strain the milk into a clean pan, add the breadcrumbs and whisk over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until thickened.

8 Warm the croutons and gravy in the oven and check the seasoning. Place a crouton on a warmed plate, sit a grouse on top and fill its cavity with watercress. Dollop some bread sauce beside the bird and pour over some gravy.

Nutrition notes per serving: 1013 calories, protein 60g, carbohydrate 54g, fat 57g, saturated fat 29g, fibre 2g, added sugar none, salt 2.48g.


For clarified butter: melt 250g/9oz unsalted butter in a small pan over a low heat. Allow to stand for a few minutes until all the oil rises to the top, then skim off the oil into a sealable plastic container.

Nick Nairn Cooks the Main Course is one of a new series of BBC books called TV Cooks.

It comes with a new 30-minute video containing expert advice and step-by-step techniques for cooking tasty dishes. The set costs pounds 9.99 and is available from all good book stores.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 11, 1999
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