Those who are time poor do not have to compromise on taste, says Tim Maddams, who offers a simple yet tasty one-pot dish for old grouse in Shooting Times. Serves two.
One pot grouse recipe: Old grouse, chorizo, tomato and blue cheese dumplings
- Four old grouse breasts (you could use pigeon or mallard)
- ½ a small red onion
- Two cloves of garlic
- ½ tin of good-quality tinned tomatoes
- Generous glug of reasonable but not virgin olive oil
- A good pinch of dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp good sherry vinegar
- A little water
- Salt and black pepper
- 50g cooking chorizo
- 50g blue cheese (I used Isle of Arran blue)
- 100g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 1tbsp milk pinch of chopped fresh lovage (or parsley)
- Slice the grouse breasts lengthways to pencil thickness, trimming any feathers or shot damage. Finely slice the onion and chop the garlic; blitz the tomatoes with a stick blender.
- Heat an ovenproof sauté pan you know you can trust, and preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Add the oil, grouse, onion and garlic to the heated pan and give it a quick sizzle over a high heat. Add the blitzed tomatoes, herbs, sherry vinegar and a splash of water. Season with salt and black pepper. Simmer briefly, then remove from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl, make the dumpling mix — simply crumble the blue cheese into the flour and make it into a sort of breadcrumby texture by sifting the mix through your fingers (as if you were making pastry). Add the milk and stir to a loose dough.
- Spoon out four dollops of the dough into the still-warm grouse dish and slam it in the oven for around 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add a dash of water if things start to look a little dry. Once the dumplings have puffed up and gone a little golden, remove the whole thing from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.
Thoughts on this one pot grouse recipe
I was recently on a walked-up affair that found me scaling the side of a Cairngorm, in pursuit of a few red birds, with some good-humoured folk who managed to put up with the terrain (more or less) and my irritating habit of shooting things while, at the same time, appearing to be dying of exhaustion.
During a much-needed break in the action, the subject of cooking came up and it was made clear to me that some folk don’t have much time to cook. My argument that it doesn’t take very long at all was met with the old “that’s easy for you to say” routine, and I was forced to accept that most people don’t think it’s quick and simple unless it only uses one pan and is ready in under 40 minutes.
That got me thinking about all the hard-working and time-pressed keepers, beaters and pickers-up who have access to lots of game but are not exactly spoiled for leisure time. This gave me considerable food for thought as we continued our adventure across the high moor, and left me thinking that I should come up with a few ‘one-pan wonders’ for these pages, starting with this one pot grouse recipe.
The results of this hot day on the side of a mountain was exhaustion plus 8½ brace of fine grouse – in a year with little grouse action, that was quite something and I was looking forward to supper before we had bounced back down the hill in my favourite Toyota Landcruiser.
Alas, our ratio of young to old wasn’t entirely appealing (the birds, that is, not the team) and I ended up with my fair share of old grouse to take home. The dish below is a result of those hard-won birds and my desire to find recipes that are a little less heavy on the washing up and easy on those who are short of time.
It’s also important to add that the grouse will be a little overcooked, but the fat from the oil and the chorizo will settle that. The old grouse will also have a strong flavour, but that will be set off by the acidity and heat from the vinegar and chorizo – and the dumplings will stop you caring about such things anyway.