Roast Grouse with Blackberries
Blackberries are in season at the same time as grouse and make a natural partner. Their juice enriches the sauce. Here, the bird is roasted on a grouse-sized raft of bread that becomes beautifully crisp round the edges while the centre soaks up the flavoursome juice.
oven-ready grouse 2
freshly ground black pepper
good bread 2 oval slices, 1cm thick
plain flour 2 tsp
white wine 100ml
game stock or strong chicken stock 600ml, preferably homemade
thyme sprigs 2
watercress sprigs to garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Season the grouse inside and out with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stuff the cavities with blackberries and a knob of butter. Smear the breasts with more butter and cover with a piece of baking parchment.
2) Butter the bread on one side and place buttered side-up in a small roasting tin. Sit the grouse on top and roast for 20–30 minutes. Remove the grouse still sitting on their rafts of bread, and leave to rest in a warm place.
3) Pour off most of the fat from the roasting tin. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until slightly brown. Deglaze for a few minutes with the wine, then pour in the stock. Add the thyme sprigs and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, skimming off the creamy scum that gathers round the edge.
4) Once the sauce has reduced by about half, pour in any juices that have flowed from the resting grouse. Check the seasoning and strain the sauce into a jug.
5) Place the grouse and bread on warmed serving plates, garnish with watercress sprigs and serve with the sauce.
The bread should be the same size and shape as the grouse. Trim off the edges if you don't have the correct size.
Roasting for 25 minutes produces meat on the rare side but not excessively bloody. Increase the roasting time to 35–40 minutes if you prefer grouse well done, but bear in mind that the birds will continue to cook during the resting period.
Recipe © Christine McFadden from The Farm Shop Cookbook published by