Ingredient of the week: Glorious grouse

Grouse heralds the start of the game season – the Glorious 12th, the 12th of August, is the first day of the shooting season for red grouse. If the weather is anything to go by, Autumn is definitely upon us (unless we get hit by an Indian summer) and game will be hitting our tables soon – pheasant, partridge and friends.

Grouse feed on heather which is why they are commonly found in Ireland and Scotland. Their gamey flavour gets stronger, as with other game birds, the longer they are hung. Rumour has it the further South the bird is shot, the less high its flavour gets.

If you don’t like very gamey meat (and grouse can be particularly so) see if your butcher can find some that hasn’t been hung for long and cook it for a little longer than usual – it is often served very bloody which is not to everyone’s taste. Game aficionados would scoff – but you’re the one doing the eating.

Grouse is traditionally served with its liver on toast, bread sauce, game chips and a rich game jus. If you’re in the mood, a little bit of fruit jelly makes a delicious accompaniment. Whatever you’re doing, get your kitchen ready to game on.

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