It’s August 12! Which can only mean one thing; the grouse-shooting season is well and truly underway with the Glorious Twelfth, today!
After bad weather effecting the annual event for the past two years, the recent hot weather means the Glorious Twelfth will live up to its name this year.
To celebrate, chef Richard Corrigan – head chef at Corrigan’s Mayfair and Chef Alliance spokesperson – shares his recipe for Roast grouse, liver en croute and blackberry sauce.
“The young red grouse are great for grilling, served with wild blackberries – a sweet and slightly acidic note to complement the unmistakable taste of this succulent bird.” –Richard Corrigan
4 red grouse (oven ready)
3 shallots peeled and finely chopped
150g foie gras
1 bunch thyme
4 slices of bread
1 bulb of garlic
½ punnet blackberries
2 rashers of bacon
½ pt brown chicken stock
100g chicken livers
Ground nut oil
Pre heat the oven to 180C.
Stuff each grouse with 2 cloves of garlic and some sprigs of thyme (reserve half the bunch for later). Heat some oil in a pan and seal the birds all over until golden brown. Cover with the bacon rashers, season with pepper and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Bring the chicken stock up to simmer. Remove the breast and legs from the cooked grouse, place the legs and carcasses into a pan with the stock, allow to infuse over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Sweat the shallots garlic and remaining sprigs of thyme in some oil, leave to cool.
Pre heat the grill to a medium-high heat.
Chop the chicken livers and foie gras until smooth, then add to the cooled shallot mixture. Spread this onto the sliced bread.
Gently heat the butter in a pan and fry (bread-side down) until golden and crisp.
Place under the grill for 2-3 minutes to cook the liver.
Strain the stock and add the blackberries, season to taste.
Serve the grouse alongside the liver en croute and blackberry sauce, and some game chips (thinly sliced fried potatoes, seasoned with rosemary salt)
A few grouse facts from the Bird Association for Shooting and Conservation:
Red grouse is only found in the British Isles.
Grouse eat up to 50g of young heather every day.
They are not reared by gamekeepers, but live in their natural habitat.
There are 459 grouse moors in the UK, covering 1,500,000 hectares.
Grouse shooting takes place on moorland as far south as Wales and Derbyshire and as far north as the Highlands of Scotland.
Moors vary in size from 200 hectares to nearly 10,000 hectares, with an average of 2,000 hectares.
Grouse densities of more than 60 birds per sqkm, at 12 August, are necessary if moorland is to be economically viable for driven shooting.
An adult red grouse can hit 80mph – requires high level of skill for shooting.
In order to protect grouse numbers and other moorland birds, predators such as foxes, crows and stoats are controlled by gamekeepers.
August 12 marks the start of the grouse-shooting season. Throughout this period shooters from all over the world head for the moors of Scotland and northern England.
The season lasts from 12 August to 10 October.