Roast Grouse with Blackberries & Port jus

Preparation Time:

2hrs 30 mins

Serves:

4

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This is one for special occasions, if you are lucky enough to get grouse, in this case I used Wild Irish Grouse. It was sublime. It's a lot of work but uses the whole carcass which feels right for this beautiful bird. Truly worth the effort.

Ingredients

Roast Grouse:

4 Grouse including giblets

500g duck fat

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

salt & pepper


Potato Galette:

3 large potatoes

100g seasoned flour

2 eggs - whisked

200g breadcrumbs

oil


Sauce:

100ml olive oil

100g butter

2 shallots - peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves - peeled and sliced

2 flat mushrooms

200ml port

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 punnet of fresh blackberries

200ml chicken stock

500ml chicken stock

To Plate:

1 savoy cabbage

1 tbsp butter

24 blackberries

salt & pepper

Method

Grouse Method

1/ Remove the legs and wings from the bird. Separate the thighs from the drum stick by cutting through joint. Remove the intestines, reserving the hearts and livers.

2/ Cut out the spine, crop and wish bone so that you are left with the crown, i.e the breasts on the bone.

3/ Place the thighs in the pan with the duck fat and confit slowly over a very low heat for an hour until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the thigh, making sure there is no bone or lead shot and flake the meat.

4/ To make the sauce, put the olive oil and butter in a pan. When it starts to foam add the drumsticks, wings and spine bone form the bird and slowly caramelise.

5/ Add the sliced shallots and garlic, cook until soft then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the water in the mushrooms has evaporated and they start to caramelise.

6/ Drain the fat from the pan and deglaze with the port. Add the bones back to the pan with the thyme and blackberries.

7/ Boil until the bones become glazed, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and skim.

8/ Cook slowly for 20 minutes then pass through a fine chinoise lined with four layers of muslin ( I used a fine sieve) into a clean pan. Bring to the boil and reduce, skimming all the time until you achieve a light syrupy consistency.

9/ To make the potato galette, bake the potatoes until soft. Scoop the centres out and put to one side.

10/ Saute the livers and hearts and then chop to a smooth paste along with the confit thigh meat.

11/ Mix the potato into the paste meat a little at a time until you get the taste you require (it can be quite strong). Season with salt and pepper, then form into four round discs approx. 1 cm thick. Allow to set in the fridge.

12/ Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs o three separate plates. Coat the set potato discs first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside.

13/ Remove the dark green outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Remove the tender green leaves and cut out the stalk. Slice the leaves very thinly and place into boiling salted water until tender and then straight into iced water. Set aside.

14/ Heat the olive oil and butter in a hot pan. Season the grouse with salt and pepper and seal all over until golden brown. Transfer to the oven and cook at 180◦c or gas Mark 4 for 4-8 mins depending on the size of the bird and leave to rest in a warm place.

15/ In the meantime, cook the potato galette in a deep fryer until golden brown and crispy.

16/ To serve, reheat the cabbage in a little butter and season.

17/ Place the blackberries into the sauce at the last minute just to warm through and then remove breasts from the bird and keep warm.

18/ On each plate, place some of the cabbage in the centre of the dish and place a galette on top. Arrange two grouse breasts on top of the galette, one on top of the other and arrange the 6 blackberries around the cabbage.

19/ Bring the sauce back to the boil and check for consistency (you may want to whisk a little butter in at this point to make it smooth and shiny), then pour over and around the grouse and serve.