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Grouse
Lea writes http://OfftheEatenTrack.wordpress.com and is @BakersBunny on Twitter

The world's most sought-after game bird will be hitting the restaurants from our heather-clad hills this month. The wee grouse is a rich, tasty bird that needs very little in way of seasoning and is real fast food, taking as little as 15 minutes to cook.

 

I was lucky to be sent a brace from the Dumfries-based, Blackface Meat Company (www.blackface.co.uk).  The recipe below is quick and simple. With barely any fat, I covered the grouse in a good quality, fatty bacon; streaky works really well. Don't use plastic white bread but a chewy doorstop of sourdough, the juices soak into the croute but the bottom remains crispy.

 

With wild berries in the hedgerow, you could make a sauce by deglazing the pan with a little stock or wine, throw in a handful of berries and reduce slightly.

 

The normal accompaniments are bread sauce, game chips (hot crisps) and watercress, but I like idea of roast tatties and parsnips. If you are lucky enough to get the livers, quickly pan fry them in butter with a little salt and pepper, then either roughly mash or blitz to a smooth paste. Serve on warm fried bread as a starter. 

 

How to choose a grouse? You want a young bird - the breast bone, legs and feet should be pliable with sharp claws. Avoid any that 'off' smell, the dried looking ones, as well as ones that don't have a deep red skin. After all you'll be paying a premium price so you want the best. Talk to your butcher or get them from Blackface like I did!

 

 

Roast Grouse

1 young grouse per person

Fatty bacon

50g butter

Rapeseed oil

1 slice of bread per bird

 

Pop a knob of butter inside the grouse.

Wrap it in bacon.

Melt the remaining butter and oil in a frying pan and heat till sizzling.

Put the bread into the pan and brown one side. Turn it over and plop grouse on top.

Cook in a very hot oven (200oC) for 15 mins for rare; 30 mins for med/well.

Leave to rest for 10 min, then serve with whatever you fancy.

 

 

What else is in my basket?

Hare, red deer, game birds. Mullet, wild trout, scallops. French beans, shallots, greengages.

 

 

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