Following a bad experience cooking pheasant I've tended to steer clear of game in the kitchen. Under the impression that I didn't have the skillz I avoided anything more robust than a free range chuck, until a chat with my boss revealed that it was the [over-hung] pheasant and not me. Huzzah, jubilations, a new culinary door opens up. Obviously this was months before the start of the season so I've had to wait until now to give game another shot, so to speak. (sorry)
Enter Gerald Grousington III. Cute, no?
And dare I say it was a succulent success. I had a little moment of panic - does one chop off the feet?, but as you can see below, that didn't last long.
Served with bubble n squeak patties, "sweet and sour" carrots, mushroom and kidney gravy and a spoonful of shallots, a mighty feast for the lone meat eater (meater?) of the house.
Here's what I did, all very simple homely stuff.
For the grouse
Grouse (oven ready - I'm not mucking about with feathers)
2 rashers streaky bacon
1/2 banana shallot, cut into rings
Bubble & Squeak cakes
2 handfuls mash potato
3 leaves savoy cabbage, finely sliced
1 banana shallot, finely sliced
1 large carrot, cut into batons
1tsp red wine vinegar
Small handful chopped parsley
Mushroom & Kidney Gravy
1/2 banana shallot, finely chopped
1 posh mushroom stock cube (yes, a stock cube)
if required, smidge cornflour, loosened with cold water to thicken
1 cooked kidney from your bird (see instructions)
Heat the oven to 220 degrees / gas mark 7, and bring a pan of water to the boil. Fry the cabbage and shallot in butter until nice and soft, then combine with the mash and season well. Shape into little patties, and set to one side. Fry the chopped (gravy) shallot in a little butter, then add the mushroom stock cube and water, and simmer until reduced and a bit syrupy. I'd have liked to have thrown in some wine here too, but the booze cupboard was (unsurprisingly) dry.
Butter, season, and bacon your bird. Inspired by Oliver Thring's recent nutmeg post, I threw on a tiny bit of that too, just before the bacon.
Pop the grouse in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, before turning the oven down to gas 180 / mark 5 and roasting for a further 10.
Meanwhile, boil the carrot until just cooked, drain and mix with the other carrot ingredients. Leave it in the hot pan, with the lid on until ready to serve.
Just after you turn down the oven, heat a frying pan and fry the potato cakes until golden and crisp on the outside. Once the grouse has finished cooking, fish out a kidney (in the cavity), wrap the bird in foil, and leave to rest for ten minutes.
Whisk the cooked kidney into the sauce, adding the cornflour to thicken if needed. Pile the fruits of your labour onto a plate, and enjoy with a glass of wine, should you have any in the house.