Cocoa nib crusted grouse, with beetroot purée, apricot, fondant potato and cavolo nero

Cocoa nib crusted grouse

Mount St John Sporting


4 large grouse
200g duck fat
100g thyme
1 clove garlic

Beetroot purée
1 large beetroot
Sherry vinegar
Olive oil

Fondant potato
4 large potatoes
2 tbs vegetable oil
300ml chicken stock
1 clove garlic, left whole
2 sprigs fresh thyme
50g butter

1 head cavolo nero
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Apricot gel
200g apricots, drained and stones removed
½ tsp whole coriander seeds
½ tsp whole fennel seeds
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ clove garlic, peeled
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil,

50g panko breadcrumbs, fried in butter
30g cocoa nibs
10g chives, chopped

Grouse chicken sauce
Grouse carcass, chopped
2 litres chicken stock
100g unsalted butter
2 shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Thirsk, North Yorkshire

Serves 4.

Clean the grouse thoroughly, removing any remaining feathers and all the offal. Remove the legs, and carve off the crowns.

Simmer the beetroot in a deep pan of water until tender. Peel and roughly chop whilst still warm. Blitz to a smooth purée in a blender with a splash each of sherry vinegar and oil plus a little salt and sugar, then pass through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and transfer to a small pan ready to re-heat for serving.

Cut the potatoes into cylinders with a pastry cutter. Heat a deep, ovenproof pan and add the vegetable oil. Stand the potatoes in the pan and fry gently until the base is golden brown.Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then add the garlic, thyme, and butter. Cook in the oven at 190˚C for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Strip the leaves from the hard stalks of the cavolo nero and wash them under cold water. Finely shred and steam or boil in salted water for 5 to 7 minutes until just cooked. Drain, but reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, and when hot add the butter and toss the blanched cavolo nero, then season and drain.

Blend the apricot gel ingredients to a smooth purée.

Toast the breadcrumbs for the crust in foaming butter, then mix in the cocoa nibs and chives and set aside.

Roast the grouse carcass until golden brown, then add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and butter, and continue to roast until the shallots are cooked. Deglaze with the chicken stock. Cook for 30 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve lined with muslin into a clean pan and reduce to a syrupy consistency.

Colour the grouse crowns in a pan until evenly coloured and golden brown. Transfer to a tray and roast at 190˚C for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the birds. Allow the birds to rest for 6 minutes, before carving the breasts from the crowns. Brush the top of each breast with a little sauce then lightly press the brushed breasts into the crust for an even coating.