Top Tips for Cooking Grouse

by Robert Gooch August 12 2016

The much anticipated ‘Glorious Twelfth’ heralds the start of a new game season as the grouse season opens. We can deliver grouse (both young and older birds) straight to your door from mid August until the season ends in December.

Grouse tastes like no other game - for some people it’s the superlative game bird. They live and feed on moorland heather and bilberries which give complex flavours to the dark red meat. Tim Maddams in his excellent River Cottage Handbook on Game says “Grouse meat is a joy. Its flavours is divine: strong enough to carry spices but sweet enough to serve simply, hot or cold.”

Our top tips for cooking grouse

  1. It’s important to know whether you are dealing with a young bird (born this summer) or an older bird (the young's parents) which would be less tender. This is more noticeable at the start of the season. while older birds benefit from slower cooking at a lower temperature.
  2. Plumper than a partridge or a pigeon, it’s best to allow one grouse per person - and if that’s too much the leftovers are worth keeping.
  3. Grouse is a lean bird, so needs to be cooked carefully to prevent it from drying out. It should be served pink, as this ensures that the moisture is retained in the flesh.
  4. The offal is not to be missed - pan-fry the liver and heart and serve it on a slice of good toast, preferably sourdough.
  5. Young birds are best for quick roasting: To prepare simple roast grouse just season the birds well and rub with a little butter; sear in a hot oven-proof pan on their backs and on each side and the breast until golden brown. Then turn them back onto their backs and roast in a hot oven (around 220*C for around 12 minutes.  Rest for another 12 minutes before serving.
  6. Older birds are best cooked long and slow by pot roasting or casseroling. Braise whole or jointed birds in a mix of stock and red wine for around 45 minutes and allow to cool in the stock to keep the meat moist.
  7. Grouse holds strong flavours well and makes a good Indian curry, a Moroccan tagine or an Asian chilli, ginger and soy sauce.
  8. Any leftovers make a great salad - try a game caesar salad with crispy lettuce and croutons.
  9. Don’t throw out the carcass, the bones are excellent for stock or broth to make a traditional soup, a noodle broth or an Italian risotto.
  10. Finally, as with any game birds do look out for lead shot and be careful to remove it before cooking from the meat and the bones.  Any shot or heavily bloody areas may affect the flavour of bones used for stocks and sauces.

Ideal flavours for pheasant

Fruits:  Blackberries, raspberries, beetroot
Herbs: juniper berries, thyme, sage
Spices: cumin, cardomon, cumin, turmeric
Alcohol: Madeira, Brandy, amontillado sherry

Favourite Recipes

Buy grouse online from Wild Meat Company

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