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August 9, 2013

Guest Recipe: Peter Weeden’s roast grouse

By Spear's

Peter Weeden, head chef of the Newman Street Tavern, says this is undoubtedly the best way to cook young grouse

This is the unfailingly best way to cook a young grouse. My opinion on this has changed little in the last fifteen years, except the omission of streaky bacon to cover the breast. This decision was made after a dinner with our grouse supplier, Ben Weatherall and Fergus Henderson, five years ago, when Fergus insisted the grouse didn’t need the bacon; he is of course right. 

Game chips are best served with this. We make them fresh but I have seen people successfully cheating with a bag of crisps warmed for a moment in the oven.

Grouse for four to six

4-6 grouse
6 shallots diced
250g butter
1 bunch watercress
1 cottage loaf
Splash of cognac
1 1/2 pints full fat milk
250ml of well reduced veal or chicken gravy
a glass of port
faggot of herbs (rosemary, bay and thyme)
2 bay leaves
1 x clove


Take one young grouse per person.

Remove the heart, liver & necks, baste the bird inside and out with salted butter and insert a faggot of herbs into each. I wrap the feet in foil to prevent them scorching. Tie the feet together to keep tight whilst cooking.

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Butter nice slices of cottage loaf and set aside.

Bring to a simmer 1 1/2 pints of full milk with a diced shallot, 2 bay leaves & a clove, don’t be tempted to add more clove as it will anaesthetise your tongue.

Remove the crust from 1/2 a loaf of white bread, dice and add to the milk, cover & leave on a very low heat or the plate warmer of the aga.

Blitz the crusts, tip into a baking tray, add 100g of butter and toast in a low oven.

Fry 1 diced shallot in a tbsp of butter, add the hearts and liver, deglaze with a splash of cognac, mash with a fork & set aside.

Reduce the port with 2 diced shallots until jammy, add the chicken gravy and necks from the grouse; bring to the boil and set aside.

Colour the grouse in a little clarified butter 2 minutes each side (i.e. left hand side/ right hand side / bottom), then place each bird on a slice of buttered bread & roast in a hot oven at 225 degrees for 6-10 minutes, depending on how well done you want your bird.

Remove from the oven, rest for ten minutes, remove the string and place the birds on a plate with the watercress. On each of the now toasted but juice-soaked slices of bread, spread a little of the liver and heart, warm in the oven, cut into halves & place around the plate of grouse.

Bring the bread sauce back to a simmer, add a knob of butter and season to taste.

Serve the grouse with the gravy, bread sauce, toasted breadcrumbs, liver toast, watercress and some game chips and add your preferred vegetables. I like roasted crown prince squash, greens & braised red cabbage.

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