Before traditionalists throw their hands up in horror, they should try this grouse recipe with chilli and cumin which introduces some unusual yet delicious new flavours to grouse. Serves two.
Imagine the warmth of an August day on the moor, the walnut figure on your gun stock, the smell of recently harvested British apples and capture that all in a new-season grouse dish.
Handful crushed walnuts
Finely chopped red chilli
Salt and pepper
Two eating apples
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spatchcock the grouse and put it breast-side up and flattened out in a roasting dish.
2. Place a good handful of walnuts into a food bag and crush them into small pieces. Finely dice the onion and place it into the food bag. Add half a teaspoon of fenugreek, half a teaspoon of cumin, the garlic and a little finely diced red chilli. Season and shake the bag. Core and slice the apples with their skins on and add the pieces to the bag to mix. Place the mixture around and over the grouse and put it in the oven for 25 minutes.
3. Remove the bird from the oven, scrape off the mixture and stir. Splash a glass of sherry over the bird and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes if you want the meat pink, or 15 minutes if you want it well done.
4. Remove the game to rest and cut it in half to serve. Place the roasting pan on to a high-heat hob and allow the mixture to simmer. Add a tot of sherry, bring back to a simmer, then stir in a good splash of double cream and add some fresh thyme leaves.
Use a large food bag for the mixing and a crunchy apple such as a Cox. If you can’t get fresh thyme, use dried, but cook it with the mixture. Go easy on the chilli, cumin and fenugreek, you want to add warmth to the mixture, not make a curry.