Roast Yorkshire grouse with creamed root vegetables, stuffed cabbage and elderberries

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Grouse is a distinctly British treat, and this autumnal recipe from Sally Abé certainly does the game bird justice. The breasts are gently poached and finished off in a pan, served with creamy root vegetables, a stuffed cabbage leaf and a delicious pontack sauce made with elderberries. This is quite a complex recipe but many elements can be made in advance – and the end result is well worth the effort!

First published in 2019




Pickled elderberries

  • 100g of elderberries
  • 40g of cranberry vinegar
  • 40ml of water
  • 40g of caster sugar

Creamed root vegetables

Grouse sauce

Chou farci

Pontack sauce



  • Sous vide equipment
  • Blender
  • Mandoline with ridged blade
  • Temperature probe


Begin by making the pickled elderberries. Bring the water, sugar and vinegar to the boil in a small saucepan. Place the elderberries in a clean sterilised jar or container, then pour the boiling pickling liquor over them. Cover and set aside for at least 24 hours at room temperature before using
  • 40ml of water
  • 40g of caster sugar
  • 40g of cranberry vinegar
  • 100g of elderberries
For the pontack sauce, preheat an oven to 120°C/gas mark ½. Place the elderberries, shallots and cider vinegar in a deep tray or ovenproof saucepan and cover with foil. Place in the oven and leave to cook overnight
  • 500g of elderberries
  • 200g of shallots, sliced
  • 500ml of cider vinegar
For the chou farci, generously sprinkle the grouse legs with rock salt and leave to cure for 6 hours. Bring a small saucepan full of vegetable oil to 75°C, then once the legs have cured add them to the oil and confit them for 8 hours. Once cooked allow to cool, then pick the leg meat off the bone – you will need 40g of leg meat for this recipe. This step can be done a few days in advance – just keep the meat in the fridge until needed
The next day, transfer the cooked elderberry mixture to a large pan and add the spices and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the sugar and cook until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and blitz for several minutes until completely smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, then transfer into squeezy bottles and store in the fridge until ready to serve
Finish making the chou farci by placing the chicken mince, egg yolks, double cream and salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until well incorporated, then add the rest of the ingredients (except the hispi cabbage and butter) with the 40g of grouse leg meat and combine. At this point you can wrap a small spoonful of the mixture in cling film and poach it for 4 minutes to taste for seasoning. Once happy with the flavour, transfer to a piping bag
Separate the hispi cabbage into 16 large leaves and pipe around 35g of the stuffing mixture into the centre of half of them. Place the remaining 8 leaves on top, then cut into a neat teardrop shape and brush with garlic butter. Place into vacuum bags, seal and set aside for cooking later
For the creamed root vegetables, use a mandoline with a dicing attachment to cut the shallots, leeks, carrots and celeriac into a very fine dice (you can also do this with a knife). Add a splash of grapeseed oil to two separate frying pans, and sweat the shallots, leeks in garlic in one, and the bacon, carrots and celeriac in the other. The shallot mixture will finish cooking before the celeriac, so keep an eye on them and remove from the heat when ready
Once the contents of both pans have softened and cooked through, mix them both together and season with salt and pepper. Stir in just enough double cream to bind the mixture together, then set aside in the fridge to reheat before serving
For the grouse sauce, place the grouse bones in a large saucepan with a splash of oil and cook over a high heat until golden brown. Add the button mushrooms and shallots and continue to cook until caramelised and browned. Add the garlic, herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries, cook for a few minutes until aromatic, then pour in the port, red wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until reduced to a syrupy consistency
Once the liquid has reduced, add both the stocks and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the top, then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce into a clean pan, discarding the solids, then place back over a medium heat and reduce to a sauce consistency. Once you’re happy with the reduction, taste for seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve
  • 500ml of veal stock, ideally True Foods
  • 500ml of brown chicken stock, ideally True Foods
You now have all the elements ready to plate this dish, apart from the grouse itself. Preheat a water bath to 90°C to cook the stuffed cabbage, and ensure the grouse sauce is warm and the creamed root vegetables are ready to be reheated
To cook the grouse, pour the chicken stock into a large pan and bring to 65°C. Add the grouse breasts and poach for 10–12 minutes, ensuring the temperature remains around 65°C. Drain and set aside. Place the vacuum-packed cabbage parcels into the water bath and cook for 4 minutes
Add a dash of grapeseed oil to a frying pan set over a high heat. Once hot, finish cooking the grouse by pan-roasting the breasts until coloured on all sides. At the same time, add the hearts and cook for 45 seconds, then skewer onto the rosemary sprigs. Season the breasts and the heart and get ready to plate
To serve, remove the cabbage parcels from their bags and place on the base of each plate. Top with two grouse breasts. Add a spoonful of the reheated creamed vegetables alongside with the skewered heart on top, then pipe a large dot of the pontack sauce next to it. Finish with a large spoonful of the sauce and some drained pickled elderberries

After cutting her teeth at the likes of Brett Graham's The Ledbury and Phil Howard's Elystan Street, Sally Abé rose to fame at The Harwood Arms. She's now at the helm of The Pem inside the Conrad London St James hotel, along with three accompanying establishments.

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