R O A S T E D G R O U S E
W I T H
A P P L E S , B A C O N A N D C A L V A D O S
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Season: Grouse season begins on 12 August and ends late November / early December
1 large unwaxed or organic lemon
50 g unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
4 small grouse (450 g in weight each)
2 apples (Braeburn, Granny Smith or Bramley all
6 slices of smoked streaky bacon
3 tblsp Calvados (you can substitute with Cognac
if you prefer)
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas 6.
Squeeze the lemon. Mix together the unsalted butter, 2 tblsp of the lemon juice and a good seasoning of sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. If the butter is cold and hard, chop it into small pieces and work it until it softens. Rub the mix on the outside and inside of each bird.
Quarter the apples and place 1-2 pieces inside each of the birds' cavities. Cut 2 slices of the bacon into 8 pieces. Tuck a small piece of bacon between the leg and breast on each bird. Then, cut the remaining 4 slices of bacon in half and wrap over the breasts.
Wrap each bird securely in foil and place on a baking tray fitted with a roasting rack. Turn the birds so they are breast-side down. Cook in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Birds larger than 450 g may need a little longer, but no more than 35 minutes.
Flip the birds over so they are breast-side up. Cut open the foil parcels and sprinkle Calvados or Cognac over the top of each bird. Return to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes. The bacon will take on a little colour and juices from the thigh should be lightly pink when pricked. Cooking them in foil will ensure they come out of the oven deliciously juicy, perfect on their own or served with a cranberry relfish or caramelised onion jam.
If you are lucky enough to get the livers still intact upon purchase, fry them in a little butter and mash them during the final 5 minutes of cooking. Serve this on some crusty bread drizzled with some Cognac flavoured roasting juice alongside the roasted grouse.