Grouse - now available for Autumn 2015by Robert Gooch September 13 2015
You may have read that this year’s late snow and cold spring and summer in the northern uplands where the grouse live have had a real impact on grouse shooting this season. So it is with some irony that it is this year that we have added grouse to our range of feathered and furred game!
We’re often asked by customers if we can supply grouse, perhaps one of the tastiest game birds there is and we’re pleased to say that now we can. The previous two years have seen bumper grouse seasons which brought the price of grouse down making it more affordable.
Famously the grouse season begins in mid August on the ‘Glourious Twelfth’ but it was much reported in the media that the poor weather means there are low numbers of birds and many grouse moors have cancelled some or all of their shoots this season and unfortunately there is not so much grouse to sell as we would like!
Nonetheless we have been able to source some grouse and are able to offer young birds and old birds. Young birds are those born this summer and are noticeably tenderer than old birds (their parents), particularly early in the season. In November and December, at the end of the season, the difference is less marked.
Shooting grouse may be a famous sporting challenge - they are very fast flying and can reach speeds of about 80mph - but they are also delicious to eat and versatile to cook with. Young grouse can be plain roasted with plenty of butter and seasoning at a very high heat for a short period of time, then give them a good rest before serving. Try this recipe for roast grouse from Delicious magazine.
Older birds are best cooked long and slow by pot roasting or casseroling. Try Kate Kilgour’s Excellent Recipe for Old Grouse via Game to Eat for cooking it with mushrooms, turnips and a splash of whisky.
In the excellent new River Cottage Game Handbook by Tim Maddams, Tim gives plenty of ideas recommends pairing grouse with strong flavours like cardamon, cumin and turmeric in a game curry. And don’t throw out the carcass, the bones are excellent for stock.
Right now in mid-September, the season is at its peak with all the grouse moors with a surplus of grouse shooting regularly. So now is a good time to order grouse, particularly as the young grouse have now filled out to their full size whilst retaining the tenderness of youth. We are also offering grouse in a fast food format – grouse and whinberry crisps. Well worth a try!