Game crumble gives you a different side dish to add to roast grouse and bread sauce. Former chef Simon Hopkinson published his first cookbook, Roast Chicken and Other Stories, in 1994 and is thought to be one of the best cookery writers working today. This is one of his recipes for Country Life.
Here is how Simon Hopkinson creates his game crumble – and you can click here to see his roast grouse method:
Game Crumble recipe: Serves 2, plentifully
A small slice of butter
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
50ml medium-dry sherry or Madeira
A little salt and pepper, only if necessary
Gently reheat the pan of grouse-roasting, buttery juices over a medium flame and add to it another small slice of fresh butter. Add the breadcrumbs and fry gently until all the butter has been soaked up by the crumbs. Allow to lightly colour for a few minutes and then add the sherry (or Madeira) and stir in.
You will instantly notice that the mixture becomes soggy from the liquid. Do not worry. Turn the heat down to very low and, stirring fairly constantly with a wooden spoon over and over, allow these soggy lumps to collect together.
In time-about 15-20 minutes, or so-these will break up into crumbs once more and become deliciously crisp; the sherry has been driven off by evaporation, its flavour left behind with the butter which, in turn, has coloured the crumbs a gorgeous nut-brown.
Taste and season only if necessary, then tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up excess fat. Put to one side.
Bread sauce recipe: Serves 2, also plentifully
1 bay leaf, crumbled
Good pinch of salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Half a small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2tbspn double cream
75g-100g fresh white bread-crumbs
A little freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Heat together the first seven ingredients until just bubbling under a simmer. Leave like this for a couple of minutes, then cover and leave to infuse. Strain the milk through a fine sieve into a clean pan and press down on the solids using a small ladle to extract all the flavours.
Reheat gently with the cream until hot, but do not boil. Whisk in the breadcrumbs (along with a little nutmeg, if using) and leave for a few moments to both allow the crumbs to swell and also to see if you may need to add any more; I like a sloppy texture but not too pourable.
Check for seasoning, then pour into a bowl, cover with a plate and keep warm over a pan of hot, but not boiling water, until needed.