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Old 09-06-2005, 06:03 AM   #1
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Glorious Twelfth!

The grouse season starts in Scotland on what is known as 'The Glorious Twelfth' - 12 August... I have a friend who shoots and likes to share the spoils, so I've got a brace ready for dinner this evening.

Brace of young grouse, plucked and drawn
Giblets of said 2 grouse!
2 oz butter
6 rashers of streaky bacon (? is this known as Canadian bacon in the USA?)
2 slices white bread (remove crusts)
2 heaped tablespoons redcurrant jelly
Salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to 400F/Gas mark 6. Rub a little of the butter into the well-washed and dried inside of each bird. Season the outside of the grouse with freshly milled salt and pepper and cover the breasts with the bacon rashers. Place in a roasting tin and cover with foil. Allow 15 mins per pound + extra 15 mins. The grouse have a tendency to dry out so ensure that they are cooked, but do NOT overcook - short cooking time at a good heat is the secret!

Toast the bread, place giblets in saucepan cover with water and simmer until tender. Strain and reserve the stock to make the gravy Remove the livers, mash them with buter, salt and pepper and spread on the toast. Slip the toast under each bird for the last 15 minutes of roasting. Place the grouse and toast on a serving dish and garnish with watercress. Make a gravy from the meat juices, add the reserved stock and when thickened with a little cornflour, add the redcurrant jelly. Traditionally, in Scotland, roast grouse is served with game chips, redcurrant or rowan jelly and bread sauce.

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Old 09-06-2005, 08:45 AM   #2
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Ishbel:

I've never had grouse. I won't ask what they taste like (tastes like chic...). About how much does a dressed grouse weigh? My sense is that they are smaller than a chicken.
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:13 AM   #3
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Ishbel, "Canadian Bacon" is not really bacon. If I remember right, it's the strip loin, cured, and shaped into a round log.

From what my Austrialian friends told me years ago, a "rasher of streaky bacon" is the same as what we Americans call "a piece (strip) of bacon".
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:22 AM   #4
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I've never had grouse either, but I looked at a site about grouse-hunting, and it said they average about 1.5 lbs each, and you flush them out like you would quail.
Having once stepped into a covey of quail, I can tell you it's quite an experience. It startles the pea-waddens out of you!

I'm thinking, Ishbel, that your recipe would be a great way to cook Cornish Game Hens, which is about the closest I can get to game birds any more.
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:55 AM   #5
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Constance: The interesting thing is that Cornish hens are unheard of in the UK, especially in Cornwall!

I think an American cook friend told me that they were a breed of small chickens - but I don't know if that's true!

Allen: re the bacon thingy...... no.... US bacon eats and tastes nothing like British bacon!

Andy: the brace (2 grouse) I'm cooking weigh about 1.75 lb each.
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Old 09-06-2005, 10:21 AM   #6
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Did you hang the grouse?
If so, for how long?

What about the grapeshot?

TIA,
Alex
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:16 PM   #7
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My friend prepared the grouse and hung them - he delivered them to me last night and said they were ready to be cooked today or tomorrow.. - And what would a grouse meal be without the occasional pellet?
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Ishbel:

I've never had grouse. I won't ask what they taste like (tastes like chic...). About how much does a dressed grouse weigh? My sense is that they are smaller than a chicken.
Grouse, at least here in the U.P. is a bit smaller than a Cornish Game Hen and has a distictive gaminess to it. Where the breast meat joins to the breast is especially gamey. The meat is fairly white and has the texture of turkey. Personally, I love fresh grouse. I'm not crazy about picking the BB's out of a poorly shot bird though.

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Old 09-07-2005, 08:47 AM   #9
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Goodweed:


Poorly shot????
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:17 AM   #10
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Andy - a bad shot will pepper the small birds with shot...! You spend ages picking them out of the flesh if you don't find them all before you cook them.

They are delicious - one of my favourite game birds - although I like pheasant and capercaillie, too.

Musing out loud: I'm not sure that capercaillie are seen outside scotland.... I'm off to have a google.

It would appear that the capercaillie numbers have been declining again and that it is recommended that they are not hunted... no wonder I haven't seen any in my butcher's shop for a while! I think I last ate some way back last summer in Caithness or Sutherland.
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
Andy - a bad shot will pepper the small birds with shot...! You spend ages picking them out of the flesh if you don't find them all before you cook them.
...
So what are you supposed to do? Aim for their tiny little heads or hypnotise them or convince them to surrender so you can cook them up?
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Old 09-07-2005, 01:23 PM   #12
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I don't know! I always avoid shooting when we visit friends who DO..... I don't mind cooking the spoils, but I won't pluck and clean them!
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Old 09-08-2005, 08:25 AM   #13
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The best game bird I've ever tasted is quail. Southern Illinois used to be full of them, but now they are mostly gone now. Grandma used to fry, then steam them a bit to make them tender, and served them with mashed potatoes, quail gravy and bisquits. We found an occasional shot, but she usually got them all out.
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Old 09-11-2005, 08:26 AM   #14
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Indeed; A good choke and knowledge of you shotgun will result in less shot entering the body. My Dad taught me to shoot them in the head, while they were walking about picking gravel. You are also supposed to lead them when shooting them on the wing. However, since grouse tend to fly away from you, usually putting trees between them and you, this is difficult.

We used to walk the trails, and so found our grouse on the ground. That's when I used to get them.

I don't hunt much anymore. I haven't the time, and I'm not fond of killing things. But I do enjoy meat and so am not opposed to hunting or fishing. But I make sure to be thankful for the food given me, after the traditions of my Native heritage. Although, I did so even before I new much about my Native heritage. It's a spiritual thing I guess. And Spiritual things have been important to me since I was a young child.

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Old 09-12-2005, 08:29 AM   #15
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Goodweed, those times you spent hunting with your dad must be very special to you. Some children never have that.

The spiritual feeling you speak of is something I feel also. In my case, I think it comes from being a grower. When you spend time with the sun on your neck and your hands in the dirt...when you plant thousands of seeds and raise them from tiny specks to big healthy plants that provide beauty and food for so many people...when you find your own piece of land, and nurture little corners of beauty with bulbs and plants that come back to give you joy year after year...you tend to feel one with Mother Earth.
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Old 09-12-2005, 08:59 AM   #16
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My father hunted deer and shot birds when I was a girl. I NEVER went on the shoots, just didn't want to kill anything. It didn't mean I had any difficulty in eating what my mother cooked from his trips!

Same today - I choose not to shoot. I have an almost phobic dislike of guns. I put it down to coming from an Army family.
Rules in the UK are now so stringent that even hunters have difficulty in getting their permits approved.

My granny's farm was in the Highlands. It is now my uncle's home and he still hunts, shoots and fishes - and I always come home laden with produce - but I still don't like to watch him cleaning the guns!
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