Chefs up and down the country get excited for the August 12 – or the Glorious Twelfth, as it is known – which sees the first grouse of the year and marks the start of the game season.
Grouse is a rich meat that owes its flavour to the heather that the birds graze on. It is one of the last remaining truly wild meats we eat.
In Scotland we have the most amazing game but so many shy away from it. This dish is the perfect introduction to grouse and even one to try for those who think that they don’t like it.
The sweetness of the carrots and honey cuts through the richness of the grouse. I add some optional extras when I serve this dish in the form of celeriac purée and kale flowers. Most greengrocers can get kale flowers for you if you request them.
For the grouse
A drizzle of rapeseed oil
1 sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic, crushed
For the heather honey crumble
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
80g heather honey
For the carrot purée
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
200g carrots, peeled and sliced
100ml double cream
For the baby carrots
2 baby carrots
2 sprigs of thyme
Preheat the oven to 190C.
In a large pan, brown the grouse evenly on all sides with a drizzle of rapeseed oil.
Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the grouse for 8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the butter, garlic and thyme.
Baste the juices over the bird.
Allow the grouse to rest in the pan.
Heather honey crumble
Sweat the shallot and thyme in the butter until the shallot has softened.
Add the honey and bring to a rapid boil.
Add the breadcrumbs.
Cook out until the breadcrumbs are toasted.
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and add the shallot.
Sweat the shallot for 3-4 minutes.
Add sliced carrots and continue to sweat down for another 4 minutes.
Add the milk and cream and simmer for 10 minutes.
Blend in a high-speed blender until smooth and glossy.
Season to taste with sea salt.
Pass through a fine sieve.
Keep warm until needed.
Peel the carrots.
Add all of the ingredients to a pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender.
Carve the grouse as you would a chicken.
Sprinkle the crumble over the meat.
Arrange the remaining elements as per image.