Tuesday, 12 August 2014

:: The Glorious Twelfth - A Recipe ::

For those of you who don't know what the 'Glorious Twelfth' is, it is the opening of the British game season, with the Red Grouse being the most prized. Having grown up in rural Scotland since I was tiny and been lucky enough to go a few grouse shoots, I have always been taught the huge importance that the Grouse season brings to the local communities and not to see it as a frivolous sport for the rich. It brings a huge amount of money to the local communities from the shooters staying in hotels, eating at the restaurants, creating jobs for the locals as gamekeepers, beaters and loaders.

*Picture from the depths of Pinterest*

This native bird that lives in the heathered moors in Scotland and North East England is also incredibly good for you; organic, lean meat that has a wonderful gamey taste. It lives on a wonderful diet of heather and this contributes to its rich, dark meat. The flavour is totally unique and although has a very strong smell, it tastes delicious and represents the very best of why maintaining the countryside is so important.

A traditional grouse recipe is to roast it, wrapped in bacon with a rich tangy fruit jus but I wanted to break away from the norm and do something a little different that still kept with tradition.

A young grouse is tender and quick to cook where as old grouse needs hanging to tenderise and is best slow roasted.

I was lucky enough to have a brace of young grouse in my freezer from last season, so I thought what a perfect time to come up with a yummy and different Sunday supper. Instead of the usual bacon I went for a slightly different flavour and chose chorizo. I am sure you are all well aware by now of my slight obsession with chorizo.

Instead of roasting the whole bird, I cut off the breasts and pan fried them gently with the chorizo to keep them tender and juicy. The garlicky, paprickery flavours penetrating the grouse to help create a lovely almost smoky rich flavour.

I kept with tradition and made some bread sauce and served with both roast sweet and Maris Pipers and a few green beans.

With most traditional grouse recipes you serve it with some sort of gravy but I though the bread sauce worked well, complementing the grouse and chorizo perfectly and didn't need anything else. 

For 2 people you will need:

:: Four red grouse breasts
:: Eight slices of chorizo (I used sliced as that's what I could only get in my local shop, but a quarter of ring of chorizo roughly chopped would also work very well)
:: one sweet potato/ one maris piper, chopped
:: Green veg
:: salt/ pepper

:: To begin, carefully cut off the breasts from the bird.

:: Sprinkle with salt and pepper and leave to rest.

:: Take your chopped potatoes and put in a roasting tin, toss in a little olive oil and roast for approx. 50 minutes until crisp.

:: When your potaotes are looking like they are nearly done, pop the grouse breasts and chorizo in a hot frying pan. gently fry for approx. two minutes on each side and the put to one side to rest.

:: finish frying your chorizo so its crisp.

:: Cook your veg

:: Plate up.

And it is as simple as that; easy, yummy and delicious.

Sorry couldn't resist a close up of the crispy chorizo- yuuuuumme.

I hope this has inspired you to pop down to your local butcher and ask him for a couple of grouse. Sometimes it is really good to break away from the usual pork, chicken, beef or lamb and go for something beautifully British and different. Not only are you supporting the growth and maintenance of the incredible countryside, you are also supporting local communities.

The red grouse season runs from today until early December, a relatively short season, but what a wonderful one.

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