This superb dish is this month brought to us from the Cluny Bank Hotel.
Grouse is a fantastic bird and served with bread sauce and matchstick chips, it is truly irresistible.
Preparation Time 30 mins
Cooking Time 30 mins –1 hour
For the Grouse
8 slices smoked streaky bacon
4 grouse, cleaned, wishbones removed, (reserve livers and heart for pate)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
110ml red wine
1 fresh bay leaf
500ml game or beef stock
For the Pate
75g reserved grouse liver and heart
110g chicken livers
1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
½ tbsp finely chopped garlic
4 tbsp brandy
4 tbsp ruby port
4 tbsp Madeira wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
4 slices white bread
For the Bread Sauce
1 small onion
1 fresh bay leaf
570 ml milk
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp butter
1 bunch fresh watercress to serve
For the matchstick chips
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8.
For the pate, heat two tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming add the grouse livers, hearts and chicken livers and fry for 1-2 mins, or until golden brown on all sides but till pink inside. Strain the pan contents through a colander, reserving the hearts and livers to one side.
Return the frying pan to the heat, add another tablespoon of butter, when foaming add the shallots and garlic. Fry for 1-2 mins, or until softened.
Add the brandy, port and Madeira and carefully set alight with a match. Allow the flames to flare up and die down, return the cooked hearts and livers to the pan.. Add the parsley, tarragon and remaining cooking from the livers to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins, or until heated through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend to a puree.
For the grouse, lay the bacon slices over the grouse, Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat, add the bacon wrapped grouse and fry for 1-2 mins, then turn and fry on other side. Transfer the grouse to the oven for between 15-30 mins depending on how well you would like it cooked.
For the bread sauce, stud the onion with the clove and bay leaf, place it into a pan and pour over the milk. Bring to a simmer for 3-4. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add the breadcrumbs to the strained milk, season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg. Heat the mixture over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Add the butter and whisk until melted.
Peel the potatoes, slice and cut into matchstick size pieces.
Toast bread slices on both sides and then cut a circle or heart shape using a cutter.
Remove grouse from the oven and remove from the pan onto a warm plate to rest.
Heat the pan, that the grouse was cooked in containing the juices, over a medium heat, add the red wine and the bay leaf. Stir well scraping the browned bits of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the hot stock and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, catching the strained liquid in a pan.
Place the matchstick potatoes in a heated deep fat fryer and fry until floating and crispy.
To serve, spread the pate over the shaped croutons and place one onto each serving plate. Place the grouse onto each crouton. Drizzle the pan juice sauce over the grouse and garnish with game chips and watercress.
Serve with bread sauce in a separate dish.