Food Grouse 2022

This was my first domestic attempt of the season, picked up from Freemans butcher in Crouch End for £10 per bird.
I riffed on the Rules method: barding with bacon then stuffing the cavity with fresh herbs and garlic before smearing with butter, salt and pepper and roasting in a hot oven for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile I fried off the livers with some onions and made a rustic pate to spread on a chunky slice of fried bread which I had put under the bird whilst roasting. Served with sautéed greens and a simple red wine jus made in the roasting tin. A bit of a heart-stopper but everything in moderation, including moderation, as they say.

I fancy the spatchcock BBQ version next time.
I spent a large chunk of the weekend laboriously preparing the sensational seasonal recipe, 'Yorkshire grouse with sweetcorn, black pudding and greengages' by Ivan Tisdall-Downes (nope, me neither).

The key to it is spanking fresh sweetcorn and just-ripe greengages that hold their shape in the pan. If you have a spare 6-8 hours then it really is worth the bother.

Clearly this is no quick meal but I can foresee the sweetcorn puree adding welcome exoticism to the usual midweek ballast of lamb chops, chicken thighs etc. and I imagine that I will be cooking this quite often.

Sadly our bottle of Dugat-Py 2008 Gevrey 1er was ravishing only for the first 20 mins it was open, so much so that I opened another in a foolish attempt to chase the dragon only to find the second bottle resolutely closed from the off.
So all you people cooking grouse at home, does it smell pretty gamey when you're doing it? I'm wondering if my past experience was problematic due to overly aged birds?

Yes it does, esp. if any invasive corporeal tinkering is called for.

Boiling up bones for stock can be a bit whiffy too.

Ultimately, if you want the rainbow you'll have to put up with a bit of rain.
Plenty, and my immediate reaction was to think that it wasn't even that long ago that they were not too difficult to obtain from the excellent game specialists that used to exist even if quite reasonably much more expensively than the red-legged partridge, which is nice but a pale shadow of its cousin. I suppose that on mature reflection it must have been about fifteen or twenty years ago that they became more or less unobtainable.
I was in Bruges 10 days ago and saw some Grey Legs so bought three of each - last week a comparative tasting showed the Greys to be superior in the three preparations I tried:

Traditional recipe in braised Savoy cabbage - apologies to Alastair Little - served with a 1996 Barolo Ca De Morrisio from Mascarello

Simply roasted with bread sauce and Madeira jus - 1998 Clos de Forest Domaine D”Arlot

Cold roasted with gratin dauphinois and watercress salad - Krug 162

The greys were always superior with the greatest margin being the cabbage recipe and the closest being the roasted with bread sauce which flattered the red leg and overwhelmed the grey.


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