Mousseline of grouse with pearl barley, savoy cabbage, pancetta and red wine

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A restaurant quality dish from Phil Howard that can, with a little effort, be made at home as a centrepiece to a triumphant autumnal dinner party. If you are a fan of the grouse and its unique flavour, then this mousselin of grouse recipe is a must to try.

First published in 2015




Grouse mousse

Grouse sauce

Pearl barley


To serve


  • Drum sieve
  • Fine chinoise


Cut the breasts off the grouse, leaving as little meat on the carcasses as possible. Remove and discard any bloody components from the cavity of the carcasses and then chop the carcasses as finely as possible. Set aside
Skin the grouse breasts, cut each one into 4 pieces and place them in a food processor. Cover with the lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and several twists of pepper and blend for 30 seconds scrape the sides of the processor and pulse again for 30 seconds.Add the egg and blend once more for 30 seconds to just combine
Remove the purée from the bowl and use a scraper to pass it through the fine mesh of a drum sieve. Gather up the mixture, ensuring you scrape off any from the underside of the mesh. It should yield approximately 350g. Transfer this to a large bowl set over iced water
Measure an equal quantity of cream to the grouse. Add the cream to the grouse a little at a time, beating vigorously and ensuring each addition is completely incorporated before you add any more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time
  • 350ml of double cream
When all but a couple of tablespoons of cream have been added, scoop out a teaspoonful of the mixture and drop it into a small pan of boiling water
Turn the heat right down and poach for 2–3 minutes. Lift out the mousse and taste it. The texture should be soft, sensuous and slightly springy; if it feels at all firm, beat in the remaining cream. Season the mousse if required. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle and chill
Use a pastry brush to brush 8 150ml ramekins with some of the melted butter and place them in the fridge to chill. Once the butter has set, brush them a second time and chill again until the second coat has set. Pipe the mousse into the ramekins so they are 80 per cent full and then cover each with a round of foil. Chill until ready to serve
Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Place a large, shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium heat and leave for 1 minute. Add the oil, followed by the grouse bones, and cook for 3–4 minutes. Add the butter, allow it to melt, then stir in the vegetables and bacon. Cook for 2–3 minutes, transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes
Remove from the oven, set back over the heat and add the red wine. Bring to the boil and cook until it has all but evaporated. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock, bring to the boil and cook at a bare simmer for 45 minutes
  • 500ml of red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2l chicken stock
Turn off the heat, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then drain through a colander, discarding the solids. Pass the stock through a fine conical sieve into a fresh pan. Bring to the boil, skim off any fat or scum from the surface and boil until reduced to 250ml. Taste and season if required - you can finish with some butter before serving
Rinse the barley under cold running water. Place in a pan, cover with the chicken stock, add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Cook at a bare simmer for 25–30 minutes, until the barley is completely tender. Season with salt, cover and set aside to cool
Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and leave for 1 minute. Add the duck fat, followed by the bacon, diced vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender
Drain the pearl barley (reserving the stock), add to the vegetables, then add 125ml of the stock back to the mix. Warm through and set aside
Place the slices of pancetta between 2 sheets of baking parchment and in turn sandwich these between 2 flat baking sheets. Transfer to an oven preheated to 150°C/gas mark 2 and bake until crisp and golden - or no longer than 12 minutes
Remove from the oven, lift off the top tray and sheet of parchment and transfer the pancetta to a tray lined with kitchen paper. Leave to drain for 5 minutes and then crush to fine crumbs
Cut the ribs out of the cabbage leaves by cutting a V-shape into them. Place a large shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add 1 tbsp of the duck fat and the cabbage leaves and cook for 4–5 minutes, until the leaves have wilted
Add the chicken stock, cover with a lid and steam for 2–3 minutes, until the leaves are tender. Turn off the heat and set aside
  • 100ml of chicken stock
Trim the base off the stalks of the trompettes de la mort. Place a medium frying pan over a high heat, add the remaining duck fat and sauté the trompettes for 1 minute. Season with salt and keep warm
Place the grouse mousselines in a steamer and steam over a low heat for 10 minutes. Warm up the pearl barley and the cabbage leaves and bring the sauce to near boiling point. Whisk the butter into the sauce
Lay out 8 preheated shallow bowls and place a Savoy cabbage leaf in each. Spoon the pearl barley on top. Turn the grouse mousselines out and sit them on the pearl barley. Spoon a generous quantity of sauce over the mousselines and sprinkle with the pancetta crumbs

Phil Howard has always been a ‘chef’s chef’, quietly notching up years of service and influencing the industry immeasurably. After selling his iconic two Michelin-starred restaurant The Square to open Elystan Street in Chelsea, he has proved himself yet again to be one of the UK's brightest culinary talents.

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