Grouse, wild mushrooms, spinach, watercress & brambles (Serves 4)
- 4 oven-ready grouse
- 50g butter for basting
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 200g baby spinach
- 300g wild mushrooms
- 200g watercress
- 500g brambles
- 450g white sugar
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 400g baby potatoes
- The jam will need to be made a day ahead. For the jam: Preheat your oven to 150 degrees centigrade.
- Place 450g of brambles and lemon juice in a pot and simmer until the fruit starts to soften. Reserve 50g of brambles for garnish. Meanwhile, warm the sugar on a tray in the oven before adding it to the fruit. Keep it on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the fruit mix to a boil and allow it to boil for approximately 15 minutes. Using a sugar thermometer, take it to 104.5 degrees centigrade then remove it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees centigrade.
- For the grouse: In a hot frying pan, colour the grouse on all sides, add in the butter and thyme and baste the butter over the birds. Place in the oven or transfer to a tray if the pan can’t go in the oven.
- Check after 5 minutes by pressing the breast of the bird - you want it to be slightly soft to touch. Put it back in the oven if it feels too soft.
- Cut the potatoes in half and place flesh side down in a frying pan. Just cover with water and add a sprinkle of salt and the remaining butter and a sprig of thyme. Cover loosely with tinfoil and cook until all the water has evaporated.
- In a hot frying pan sauté the mushrooms, add in the spinach and watercress (reserve some watercress for garnish.)
- Carve the breasts and legs of the grouse, place the potatoes, spinach, watercress and mushrooms on plates then the breasts and legs, scatter a few brambles and sprigs of watercress and put a dollop of jam on the side.
- If you’re able to get some gravy from your butcher, boil and reduce it by half to intensify the flavour.
Recipe © Roberta Hall-McCarron, head chef at The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh | https://www.thelittlechartroom.com/
Roberta Hall-McCarron and Shaun McCarron know a thing or two about sourcing and cooking game.
From August through to February, The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh have a great range of game dishes featuring on their ever-changing menu.
Chef Roberta loves the taste and diversity of and often it is the only meat option on their small menu.
This is partly due to Roberta’s skill in cooking it but according to Shaun, who runs front of house in the Edinburgh restaurant, there’s a real public demand for game. Where once people were hesitant about trying it, it’s now a flavour widely enjoyed and recognised as a Scottish speciality.
Many people see the start of the season open with the Glorious Twelfth on 12th August, when grouse become available. You can expect to see grouse, The King of Game, on The Little Chartroom’s menu from this time onwards.
Like any produce, game is seasonal and varies in quality, which is why Roberta and Shaun source very carefully. Roberta suggests the best time to source and eat grouse is August to late September, partridge from September until mid-November, and pheasant from October until January.
For the quickest and easiest way to cook grouse, Roberta advises taking the time to remove the wishbone and legs, which cook quicker and may otherwise dry out. It’s best to cook the crown and legs separately rather than cooking the bird whole to save time.