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The Glorious Twelfth is upon us!

 

The Glorious Twelfth (August 12th) is nearly upon us, the first day of grouse season! Not only is the grouse the first feathered game bird of the season, it is also one of the tastiest and you will be able to buy it very soon from your game specialists at Walter Rose & Son!

 

 A whole grouse on a plate isn’t to everyone’s taste and as a nation, of course, the bird of choice is clearly chicken, however being a catering butchers as well as retail, we know that the chefs absolutely love it and look forward to the twelfth of August with great impatience.

 The delicate richness of grouse is a taste that is well worth acquiring and, with a little creativity and imagination, it’s easy enough to find ways to prepare it that will tempt even the timidest palates.

While the bird itself is a bit of a luxury in terms of cost, it goes a lot further than you might think. Once the meat has been eaten, the carcass and legs can be cooked up into a good gamey gravy, or turned into a full-flavoured broth that makes a superb base for soups.

Here are four of our top grouse recipes for the season.

Breast of grouse with corn drop scones and girolles

Serves 4

A brunchy grouse dish for game-lovers or someone weaning themselves onto the bird. Again, you can make this with any game bird – even quail or pigeon.

2 oven-ready grouse

A couple of knobs of butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A few sprigs of thyme

A few sage leaves

120-150g girolles or other wild mushrooms

1tbsp chopped parsley

Grouse gravy to serve (see below)

For the drop scones

110g self-raising flour

1 egg, beaten

120-130ml milk

120g cooked sweetcorn kernels, roughly chopped

A little vegetable or corn oil

First make the drop scone mixture. Put the flour into a bowl, stir in the egg, sweetcorn and enough of the milk to form a smooth batter and season.

Season the grouse inside and out: put the sage and thyme inside the birds and rub the breasts with butter. Place on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees, keeping them nice and pink.

To cook the drop scones, heat a griddle pan or a trusty frying pan and rub it with a little vegetable oil. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and let them cook for 3 minutes until bubbles rise, turn them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper while you are cooking the rest and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil and butter in a frying pan and cook the girolles on a medium heat for a few minutes until they are tender then stir in the parsley.

In the meantime, remove the breasts and legs from the grouse, place the drop scones on to warmed serving plates, slice the grouse breast a few times and arrange on top. You can remove the leg meat and scatter over with the girolles then spoon over a little grouse gravy.

Grouse or game gravy

Instead of throwing game carcasses away, why not make a nice, rich game gravy for the freezer from it? It saves you running around at the last minute trying to cobble together something decent.

The cooked carcasses from two, or more, grouse or game birds, chopped

2-3 large shallots, peeled and chopped

A little vegetable or corn oil for frying

½tbsp plain flour

A good knob of butter

100ml red wine

600ml strong brown beef stock (a good-quality cube will do)

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the carcasses and shallots on a fairly high heat for a few minutes. Turn the heat down, add the butter and stir in the flour, then gradually add the red wine and stock; simmer gently for about 30 minutes, a simmer plate is great for this, if you have one.

The sauce should be a good thickness by now, if not thicken with a little cornflour diluted in cold water – or you can continue simmering until it thickens. Now strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

 Grouse, spelt and herb salad

Serves 4

Spelt is a great grain for adding a bit of flavour to a gamey salad like this. Spelt is often used in place of rice in a risotto, as it holds up really well and is quite healthy with it.

2 oven-ready grouse

A few sprigs of thyme

A few sage leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A handful of small tasty salad leaves and herbs, washed and dried

30-40g spelt, soaked in cold water for a few hours

2tbsp rapeseed oil

1tbsp chopped parsley

1tbsp chopped chives

1tbsp chopped chervil

For the dressing

1tbsp cider or white wine vinegar

1tsp Tewkesbury or Dijon mustard

2tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

2tbsp vegetable or corn oil

Cook the spelt in simmering salted water for about 15-20 minutes or until tender, then drain and leave to cool. Mix the herbs with the spelt and rapeseed oil and season to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the grouse as above, leave to cool a little before removing the legs and breasts. Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season.

To serve, remove all of the meat from the legs and slice the breasts into 5-6 pieces, arrange the leaves, spelt and slices of grouse on to serving plates and spoon over the dressing.

 

Baked potato with grouse

Serves 4

You could do this with any game bird, to be honest – you just need to make sure whatever you use has the livers still in there, so they can be chopped up and mixed with potato, which adds a superb richness to the proceedings.

4 medium-sized baking potatoes

2 oven-ready grouse, along with their livers

60-80g butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A little game gravy to serve (see above)

Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas 8 or the hottest it will go. Wrap the potatoes in foil and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes or until they are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Roast the grouse as above.

Meanwhile cut about a third off the tops of the potatoes and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mix with the remaining butter and season. If the grouse have livers then sauté them, then mix in to the potato (chicken livers can be substituted if necessary).

Remove the legs from the grouse. Now remove the meat and mix with the potato. Refill the potato skins with the mixture and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the breasts from the grouse and cut into about 5 slices and arrange on the potato and pour a little game gravy over the top.

 

Grouse and summer squash broth

 

A good broth made from left-over grouse carcasses and legs makes an ideal dinner-party soup. Any game carcasses can be used for the stock.

For the game stock

2 or 3 grouse carcasses and legs, chopped

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

2 juniper berries

A few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1.5ltr chicken stock (a good-quality cube will do)

Vegetable oil for frying

To serve

1 small, ripe squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into ½cm dice

1 small leek, cut into ½cm dice and washed

1tbsp chopped parsley

1tbsp sherry

Any meat reserved from the carcass or legs

To make the broth, fry the carcasses and vegetables in vegetable oil over a high heat for a few minutes until lightly coloured. Add the juniper berries, thyme, bay leaf and chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 1 hour, skimming the surface occasionally.

Grouse and summer squash broth (Jason Lowe)

Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve and put to one side. Any meat left on the carcass and legs can be saved to garnish the soup.

To serve, simmer the squash and leeks in the broth for about 5-6 minutes or until tender. Then add any left-over grouse meat and the parsley and sherry, simmer for another minute or so, re-season if necessary and serve.

Call the shop and reserve your birds today on: 01380 722335