|Issue #101 • September/October, 2006|
Next best thing to spending a thrilling day on an upland trail is sitting down to a grouse supper, and here’s a versatile dish that’s fast, easy, and delicious to boot.
Since it only needs one pan for preparing, the recipe is ideal for making in camp. And if eaten right out of the pan when dining solo, cleanup is almost as easy as licking the pot!
On bountiful hunts when you’ve bagged enough grouse for taking home and sharing, this one-pan meal deal is a great way to show off your birds.
The basic recipe calls for typical camp staples like onions, potatoes, and carrots, but you can use whatever veggies, whether fresh or canned, that you normally tote. A few shaggy manes, puffballs, or other edible mushrooms from the field add delightful flavor to the dish, but only if you are sure of your pick.
When making the dish at home, going from good to gourmet is as simple as adding a sprig of fresh herbs like basil or sage, a handful of button mushrooms, some baby turnip, and a splash of white wine near the end of cooking.
No matter how you cook it, the secret to a super grouse supper lays in the field dressing of the bird. Whether you dress out the whole bird or practice the breasting method, the chore must be done immediately upon shooting as innards can cause delicate meat to sour quickly. As law requires for identification, don’t forget to leave one wing (or both if you’d rather) attached until the bird lands on the chopping block.
Below is the “one-man” one-pan camp special. The recipe can be doubled or tripled as luck will have it, and since it’s just as good the second time around, you can cook up two meals in one shot.
4 Tbsp. flour
1-½ Tbsp. camp fat (butter, oil, lard or drippings)
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic or pinch of garlic powder (if you don’t have any in camp add it to your list for next time around as garlic and grouse go great together)
1 chopped onion
1 cup water
1 or 2 cubed potatoes
1 cut up carrot (or some of whatever kind of camp veggie you tote)
De-bone the grouse breast by running a sharp knife down each side of the breastbone while working meat away from bone. Cut breast meat into 1-inch cubes and leave legs whole, if using. Discard the back.
Dredge meat in flour. Heat fat until sizzling, then add grouse and sauté until golden. Add garlic and onion and fry until soft.
Slowly add water, stirring until thick and smooth.
Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with bread, bun, or biscuit for getting up the rich gravy.