To prepare the bird:
1 grouse, head and neck cut off, cavity empty, reserving the liver
freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons duck fat
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt
4 grape leaves
2 slices toasted country bread, toasted
lemon quarters for serving
For the game liver spread:
1 teaspoon duck, goose fat or butter for cooking the livers
3 tablespoons total of veal liver
the grouse liver
1/2 tablespoon cognac
a grate of nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons butter for incorporating into the ground livers
fleur de sel and ground pepper to season
- Cut the empty bird with poultry shears along the back, spreading the bird flat. Rinse the bird and dry thoroughly. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of fleur de sel into the duck fat and stir it gently to mix. Slather the salted duck fat all over the bird, top and bottom. Top with a grind of pepper, and wrap the entire flattened bird with grape leaves. If you don't have fresh leaves, never fear, you can use the ones that come brined for stuffing, but you have to rinse them well to remove the salt.
- Grease a shallow roasting dish that is big enough to hold the flattened grouse, and place it down on the bottom of the dish, breasts up. Roast in a 200C/400C oven for 2o-25 minutes, enough to cook the breasts through, but be careful not to overcook it.
- While the bird is roasting, saute the veal liver and the grouse liver in the fat, making sure not to overcook, which will make it dry. Season with salt, nutmeg and cognac, then remove from heat and quickly work it into the butter with blender or by hand with a fork. Chill the mixturein the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Toast the slices of country bread, and spread the liver butter on them. Place the liver toasts on the serving plates, adding half the roasted grouse on top, grape leaves and all. (put the plates in the oven with the door open to keep them warm while you make the sauce.) Deglaze the roasting pan with a quarter cup of water, and reduce it to a tablespoon. Whisk in a teaspoon of butter into the sauce, season with salt to taste and pour over the grouse. Serve hot with a wedge of lemon.
by Chef Hogan
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