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Grouse are the most flavourful of game birds; their deep gamey taste is distinctly different from any other. The grouse season begins on the ‘Glorious 12th’ of August each year. The flavour of the birds gets stronger as the season continues towards its end in December so make the most of the opportunity to try this wild bird.
Grouse can be roasted whole, but in this method the legs and wings are removed to ensure that the breasts do not overcook whilst waiting for the tougher joints to be sufficiently done. The legs can be confited or used to make a tasty stock.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
If the bird is whole, remove the head, legs, wings and undercarriage. Remove all of the insides, including the lungs in the bottom of the ribcage then wipe out with kitchen towel.
Season the birds inside and out with salt
In a frying pan, over a high heat sear the skin of the grouse until golden brown
Transfer the grouse to a baking tray and place in the oven for 8–10 minutes depending on the size of the bird
To check that the grouse is cooked, place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the thickest part of the breast. The meat should feel springy to the touch with some resistance
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving
It’s important to clean the grouse out thoroughly as any remaining lungs and blood will cause the bird to taste bitter
If you prefer the meat more well done, leave in the oven for an extra 5 minutes
To roast grouse whole, place on a baking tray and place in the oven for 14–16 minutes basting halfway through the cooking time.
To add more flavour to grouse when cooking, try stuffing the cavity with herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, juniper or even heather.
Adam stokes cooks his grouse sous vide for 1 hour at 57°C before finishing in a pan.