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How to cook grouse

PUBLISHED: 15:11 10 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:11 10 October 2015

Roast grouse

Roast grouse

© Ming Tang-Evans

Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Chef of the Year 2014 Andy McLeish on his favourite game season and how to make a change from the traditional roast lunch.

This month I would like to pay homage to one of my favourite birds – the wonderful British grouse.

If you’ve been following my column, I’m sure you all know that my favourite cooking calendar event is the arrival of game season. Nothing fills me with more excitement than when it officially opens.

The season really kicks off with The Glorious Twelfth (12 August), which is the start of the shooting season for grouse.

There are plenty of restaurants around the country who make this into a big foodie event and it’s now become a ‘thing’ to be the first to shoot and have grouse on the menu from 12th.

This year, the season was hit by a low number of birds due to the bad weather, which affected hunting and raised the cost of grouse.

The season for grouse lasts four months, ending on 10 December. This year, I wanted to do something special in the restaurant to mark the end of the season. I’ll be serving an exclusive Grouse Tasting Menu for one night only on Monday 7 December.

What makes this menu unique is that it features some of my all-time favourites, starting with a velouté of celeriac with winter truffle and a warm salad of roast winter vegetables with Sika venison and smoked cep mushroom mayonnaise. For the main there’ll be roast breast of red grouse with salt-baked beetroot, damson jam and liver parfait. To finish, chestnut Moelleux with Calvados and spiced apples.

The excitement around game just seems to grow each year. I’ve been championing game even when the mere mention of it would make people turn their noses up.

It’s great to see how people’s opinion of wild meat has changed over the years. Sales of game are on the rise with more and more consumers buying it to cook at home.

As a chef, more importantly as a British chef, I love to see the public supporting quality British food and I hope consumer interest in game continues to grow.

This month’s recipe is my roast grouse with creamed curly kale and Jerusalem 
artichokes, perfect if you want a change from the traditional Sunday lunch. It does take time, but it’s definitely worth it.

RECIPE

Roast grouse, pithivier of leg, creamed curly kale and roast Jeruselem artichokes

Serves four

2 grouse

3 shallots

3 clove garlic

1 carrot chopped roughly

1 tbsp tomato puree

50ml sloe gin

1 pint of chicken stock

1 Savoy cabbage

Thyme

150ml cream

8 disks of puff pastry 9cm diameter

1 egg for egg wash

3 white onions

400g blanched and chopped curly kale

200g peeled Jerusalem artichokes

1 lemon

To make the pithivier

Remove the legs from the grouse and cut into a crown. Then remove the wishbone. In a heavy bottomed pan add a drop of oil and colour the legs until golden brown. Add one chopped shallot with two cloves of garlic and the carrot brown for a further two minutes. Then add the tomato purée and deglaze with the sloe gin. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil and simmer very slowly on the side of the stove with a cartouche on the top. Cook until the legs are soft and can be pulled away from the bone (it will take approximately one to one and a half hours. Strain off the liquid through a muslin and return the liquid to the heat and reduce until a sauce-like consistency is achieved.

Flake the leg meat away from the bone and put the meat aside. Meanwhile, finely slice the centre of the cabbage and also blanch until tender, refresh and squeeze out the excessive water. In a separate pan add a knob of butter and gently cook your second shallot, add a crushed clove of garlic and the chopped thyme. Add half the cream and reduce by half. Then add the leg meat and cooked sliced cabbage, season and cool. When it’s cooled, separate into four equal portions and roll into equal balls with your hands. Place four pastry disks on a piece of baking parchment and put the balls in the centre of each. Egg wash the other disk and place it on top of the ball. Press the pastry around the ball until sealed, leaving a nice dome-like shape. Use a pastry cutter to cut around the pithivier then egg wash and score neatly.

Onion purée

Slice the three white onions. Use a heavy bottomed pan and add a knob of butter and then the sliced onions. Cook gently at first, stirring occasionally, but do not colour the onions at this stage. Cook until the onions are completely soft then increase the heat and start to colour and add a little salt. When the onions are brown and the excess liquid has evaporated, remove from the pan and blend until smooth. Pass the purée through a sieve and put into a squeezy bottle and set aside.

Creamed curly kale

Sweat a chopped shallot in butter with one clove of chopped garlic. Then add the remaining cream and reduce by half. Next add the cooked and chopped curly kale and season. Set aside until needed or it can be made in advance and re-heated.

To finish

Roast the grouse in a pan and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for eight minutes along with the four pithiviers. The grouse should be cooked through but still served pink and the pithivier should be golden brown. Leave to rest for 5 mins in a warm place. Meanwhile, sauté the Jerusalem artichokes in butter until soft, season with salt and pepper and a little lemon. Remove the meat from the bone and arrange neatly on the plate with the artichokes, curly kale and pithivier. Drizzle a little sauce over the grouse and serve.

Follow Andy on Twitter: @andy23471

Chapter One, Farnborough Common, Locksbottom BR6 8NF

01689 854848, www.chapteronerestaurant.co.uk

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