Although game is most closely associated with autumn and winter, this roast grouse recipe from William Drabble is best served in late August, when the grouse is still young and tender and blackberries are just coming into season. The tangy fruit complements the rich meat wonderfully.
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Remove the legs and wings from birds. Separate the thigh from the drum stick by cutting through joint. Remove the intestines, reserving the hearts and livers
Cut out the spine, crop and wish-bone so that you are left with the crown i.e. the breasts on the bone
Place the thighs in a pan with the duck fat and confit slowly over a very low heat for an hour or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the thigh, making sure there is no bone or lead shot and flake the meat
500g of duck fat
To make the sauce, put the olive oil and butter into a pan. When it starts to foam add the drum sticks, wings and spine bone from the bird and slowly caramelise
100ml of olive oil
100g of butter
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
2 garlic cloves
2 flat mushrooms
Drain the fat from the pan, deglaze with the port and add the bones back to the pan with the thyme and fresh blackberries
200ml of port
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 punnet of blackberries
Boil until the bones become glazed then add the chicken stock and jus bring up to the boil and skim
200ml of chicken stock
300ml of veal jus
Cook slowly for 20 minutes then pass through a fine chinoise lined with four layers of muslin cloth into a clean pan. Bring up to the boil and reduce, skimming all of the time until you achieve a light syrupy consistency
To make the potato galettes, bake the potatoes until soft. Scoop the centres out and put to one side
3 large potatoes
Sauté the livers and hearts and then chop to a smooth paste along with the confit thigh meat
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 approximately 1 cm thick. Allow to set in the fridge
Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs on three separate plates. Coat the set potato discs first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside
100g of seasoned flour
200g of breadcrumbs
Remove the dark green outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Removing the tender green leaves and cut out the stalk. Slice the leaves very thinly then place into boiling salted water until tender and then straight into iced water. Set aside
1 savoy cabbage
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 180ºC/Gas mark 4 for 4-8 minutes depending on the size of the bird. Leave to rest in a warm place
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
In the meantime, cook the potato galette in a deep fryer until golden brown and crispy
To serve, reheat the cabbage in a little butter and season with a little salt and pepper
1 tbsp of butter
Place the blackberries into the sauce at the last minute just to warm through then remove breasts from bird and keep warm
For 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 six blackberries around cabbage
Bring the sauce back up to the boil and check for consistency (you may want to whisk a little bit of butter into your sauce at this point just to smooth it out and make it shine ) then pour over and around the grouse and serve
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