2 tbsps Wortleberry jam
1 tsp corn flour
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 sprig Rosemary
Glug of water
Splash of double cream
Splash of milk
2 knob of butter
2 med potatoes
Salt & pepper to season
Place 2 medium pans, filled halfway with slightly salted water, on a medium heat.
Peel and chop the potatoes roughly into cubes and add to one of the pans. Repeat for the swede and add to the other pan. Simmer until both are cooked through then drain and set to one side.
For the sauce add 2 tbsps of wortleberry jam, a good plug of water, 2 bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper to a small pan. Place on a medium to low heat stirring regularly and topping up with water when it becomes too thick. Simmer the sauce until the bird is cooked, when there is about 5 minutes to go, whisk in 1 tsp of corn flour to thicken.
To cook the grouse, preheat the oven to 200°C. Season all sides of the bird, place a frying pan on a medium heat and add some rapeseed oil. Sear off all sides of the bird.
Place the grouse in the oven for 15 minutes.
For the neeps, or swede, add a knob of butter and season well. Mash until it is even in consistency.
For the tatties (potatoes), add a knob of butter, a splash of double cream, a small splash of milk and season well. Mash until even in consistency.
To assemble the neeps and tatties, I used a section of postal tube approx 7cm in diameter, lined with grease proof paper. Push the swede down first followed by the potato then lift the tube off, leaving the grease proof paper behind, which can then easily be peeled away.
When removing the grouse from the oven, cover and allow it rest for 5-10 minutes, then remove the leg and thigh section and the breast from each side and divide for the 2 portions.
Stack the leg and breast on top of the neeps and tatties then drizzle over the sauce.
With the grouse season having come to an end this is the last one I was able to get from the butcher until next season. Wood pigeon is a good alternative if you don't want to wait until the start of the next grouse season, on the other hand, if you were cunning and stocked up the freezer, give it a go!
Not a cheesecake...!
I went for a drink with a friend after I cooked this and showed them a picture, the response was; "wow, Jake that cheesecake looks great". I did explain there was a bird sitting on top. There are many ways to present things in a chefy way; generally piling things up or strategically dotting things around the plate are but a couple. Either way the aim is, in my mind, just to make the plate look exciting and special for the ones who will eat it.