Roast grouse, chestnut and choucroute

The Recipes / Game

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

4 oven-ready grouse

Grouse sauce
300g grouse bones
75g mirepoix (equal quantities diced carrot, celery, onion, & leek)
450ml red wine
500ml brown stock
100ml chicken stock
100g sliced mushrooms
3g juniper

500g sauerkraut
100g bacon skin
25g duck fat
1tsp caraway seeds
10 juniper berries
10 black peppercorns
500ml chicken stock

Chestnut & bacon purée
6 rashers back bacon
1 packet (200g) chestnuts
1tbs garlic purée
Small bunch tarragon
100ml Madeira
300ml double cream

2 kohlrabi
2 large maris piper potatoes Butter
Vegetable oil

Kale leaves, deep fried till crispy at 170°C
4 rashers streaky bacon, grilled until crisp then chopped
Roasted chestnuts

Serves 4

Earthy flavours abound in this autumnal dish, highlighting the best of the season’s game.

Remove the legs and trim the thigh bones from the grouse. Roll in cling film with the drumstick bone protruding, tighten the film, then tie a knot in the thigh end. Simmer in boiling water for around three hours until the leg is tender, then remove and cool in iced water. This can be done the day before.

Roast the bones for the grouse sauce. In a frying pan, colour the mirepoix, then add the red wine and reduce by two thirds. Add the stock to the bones, bring to the boil and simmer for three hours, skimming all the time. Sieve and chill. When cold, remove any remaining fat from the top and reduce to a sauce consistency with the mushrooms
and juniper. Pass and reserve.

For the choucroute, fry the bacon skin in duck fat in a saucepan. Wrap the spices in muslin and place in the pan with the sauerkraut and chicken stock. Cover with a greaseproof paper lid and simmer till nearly all the liquid has gone. Check the seasoning and reserve. Again this can be done in advance and refrigerated in batches.

Sauté the bacon and chestnuts for the purée, deglaze the pan with Madeira, then add the garlic and tarragon. Reduce to a glaze then add the cream and reduce by half. Transfer to a food processor and process till very smooth: check the seasoning, then pass through a sieve and reserve.

Peel and cut the kohlrabi into 15cm thick discs. Cook with 100g of butter in just enough boiling water to cover until a pointed knife goes in without resistance, then remove from the heat and cool.

Peel and cut each potato into four lengthwise and shape into cylinders. Cover with water, add salt and bring to the boil. Boil for one minute then remove and run under cold water. Once cool remove and pat dry. Heat a little vegetable oil in an ovenproof frying pan and sauté the potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper and rolling around to cover well with the oil. Roast at 170˚C until nicely coloured (about 20 minutes) then remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

To roast the birds, seal all sides in an ovenproof frying pan with a little vegetable oil then roast at 170˚C for 9 minutes. This should give a medium-rare finish, but will of course be dependent on the size of the bird. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

To finish, reheat the chestnut purée, choucroute, kohlrabi and potato. In a frying pan warm a little vegetable oil and a knob of butter. Trim the grouse legs to expose the bone and chop off the end knuckle. Roll in the pan to reheat and colour nicely.

To present, smooth some of the purée into the centre of the plate. Place a potato at each end then spoon on the kohlrabi and choucroute. Slic off and arrange the breast with the legs. Sprinkle on the bacon and kale, garnish with roasted chestnuts, and finish with the sauce.