Grouse are a midsized game bird, with adult specimens as large as 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. Hunters appreciate them because their habit of bursting from cover almost underfoot makes them difficult to shoot, and they are much loved for their culinary qualities. They're avidly hunted on Britain's moorlands, and various species can be shot throughout most of Canada and the United States. There is little meat on a grouse other than the breasts, but the rest of the carcass makes excellent broth for a sauce or a stew. The breasts are very lean, and must be cooked carefully.
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and set it beside your work space.
Check your grouse breasts carefully for bone fragments or shot damage. Season them with salt and pepper, and wrap them carefully with strips of bacon.
Roast the breasts for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size, until they show an internal temperature of 145 F when tested with a meat thermometer.
Remove the breasts from your oven and let them rest for five minutes under a loose covering of aluminum foil. Serve hot, with your favorite side dishes.
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- Grouse breasts are very lean, so they're usually wrapped with bacon or pork fat to keep them moist during cooking.
- They're also very good when poached. Make grouse broth with the rest of the carcass first, or simmer it in chicken broth instead.
- You can also bake grouse breasts in a casserole dish, covered in white sauce or chicken or grouse gravy.
- Serve one to two breast halves per person, depending on their appetites.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.