Roasted grouse with Barolo on toast

Roasted grouse with Barolo on toast

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

The 12th of August marks the beginning of the game season with the appearance of the first small grouse. The ideal size for one, grouse have a particular deep, rich, complex flavour and, when properly cooked, they are perfectly tender. Here I’ve served them simply with a rich wine sauce, made from Italian Barolo, and crunchy, yet slightly sodden toast ... if that makes any sense.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 grouse, plucked and cleaned, but not trussed
160g unsalted butter
small bunch thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices chewy peasant-style bread
4 fresh porcini, ceps or field mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced
handful tardivo or roughly torn radicchio leaves
handful pissenlit or frisee
drizzle olive oil
few drops lemon juice
400ml barolo wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C. Wash the birds and pat dry. Place 20g of the butter in a sturdy flameproof casserole and melt slowly over a gentle heat. Divide the thyme in four and insert a portion into the cavity of each bird. Place a knob of butter inside each bird and smear more butter over the breasts, reserving 60g to cook the porcini and finish the sauce. Season the birds generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the grouse in the casserole dish and put on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and baste in the now-foaming butter.
  3. Place a slice of bread under each grouse and return to the oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking the birds and effectively fry the bread. The bread will not only crisp up, but also absorb all the lovely flavours of the grouse. The skin of the grouse should be crisp and, when pressed with your finger, the flesh should be bouncy and firm.
  4. In the meantime, melt half the remaining butter in a frying pan. When foaming, add the sliced mushrooms and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until tender.
  5. Dress the salad leaves with a little olive oil and lemon juice, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer the grouse and toast to a warm platter; keep warm. Place the casserole on the hob over a high heat and pour in the wine, stirring to deglaze. Let bubble until reduced by half, swirling the casserole every now and then to gather up all the tasty pan juices.
  7. Arrange the birds on toast on individual plates. Add the final knob of butter to the wine reduction, stirring vigorously as it melts into the sauce. Taste and add a little salt and pepper if required, then spoon over the birds. Pile the salad leaves and mushrooms on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve at once.
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