This recipe uses any grouse breasts and is particularly useful for using older grouse. The old birds are often an unwanted by-product of the day on the moor, people complain that the meat is tough. Like most other older things, if you treat them right, and add a little spice they turn out pretty good. This can be served ‘ready to go’ on little rounds of toasted bread as canapés, in individual ramekins for a starter, or made in a large batch for people to help themselves to at buffets or lunch. Serves four.
6 Grouse breasts, preferably off old birds
Extra virgin olive oil
150g Crème fraîche
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon Ginger powder
2 pinches Cayenne pepper
Place the grouse breasts in a roasting tin, drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over them and cover with butter wrappers or foil. Roast for 40 minutes, in an oven pre-heated to 180oC, removing the covering for the last 10 minutes to allow the meat to brown a little. It is fine to use any leftover meat from a whole roasted bird, but you will need to work out what it equates to in quantity for the other ingredients. Therefore, I recommend not attempting this the first time you make the pâté, get a feel for consistency and flavour first.
Allow the grouse breasts to cool completely and then break into pieces. Combine with the crème fraîche, lime juice, a generous pinch of sea salt, the ginger powder and cayenne pepper, and blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. I find my hand held stick blender, bought from a car boot sale for the princely sum of £1, works perfectly well for this job.
Taste and adjust the pâté accordingly by adding more lime juice, ginger, or cayenne pepper, but do be careful with the pepper as its flavour will strengthen over time. Put the pâté in whichever size of ramekins you are going to use, pack it well down and smooth the top. Then cover each ramekin with cling film and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. This is important as it allows the flavours to mature and the pâté to set. You can make it the day before it is needed and the pâté will be perfect on the night.
Damson jelly is perfect with this, the tartness of the fruit cuts through the warm depth of the pâté. Pop it in a little bowl with a spoon and let people add their own, or just place a small amount on each canapé if preparing the ready-to-go version.
About the chef:
Esther Veerman is a true country girl and was a huge draw at the recent Field & Country Fair, where she displayed her own brand of game cookery demonstrating delicious recipes live at the Game Cookery Theatre.
We’re certainly fans of her cooking and enjoyed discovering the ideas in her newly published book, From Field & Moor; A Country Cook’s Sport.
Priced at £24 including p&p you can buy it direct from Esther here. Just in time for the start of the new season.