When I was little, my dad would often come home having bagged wild duck or pheasant, but rarely grouse. I’ve had grouse since then, though. Wild grouse is a great treat! This recipe is adapted from one that was in “Alaska Magazine.”
Catch your grouse and gather your blueberries. Pluck and clean the grouse, rinsing inside and out. Pick over the blueberries and wash and drain them well.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Season the grouse both inside and out with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan combine the oil, lemon juice, and rosemary and heat to warm, whisking together. Coat the inside and outside of the grouse well with the oil mixture, keeping any of it that is left over, for later.
In a bowl combine the sugar, blueberries, and melted butter, stir to coat. Stuff each grouse with a quarter of the blueberry mixture (don’t forget the juice, too). You can put an additional pat of cold butter at the end of the bird, if you like.
Sew or skewer each grouse shut, the loosely wrap each bird in aluminum foil; although loosely wrapped you need to make sure that the packages are tightly sealed. Place packages, breast side down, on a cookie sheet with sides or roasting pan and roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Carefully open the packages and pour the juices from the cooking into a small saucepan, then turn the birds breast side up on the foil (leaving the packages open) and return them to the hot oven to brown, about 10 minutes, basting with the oil mixture.
While birds are browning, mix a small amount of cornstarch together with a little cold water and whisk into the saucepan containing the juice from the birds. Heat over medium to thicken. If there’s not enough juice for your taste you can add a little unsalted chicken stock, but you don’t want to overpower the blueberry and grouse flavor. Season sauce to taste with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper.
When birds are browned, place on serving platter and pour over the thickened juices. Serve with pilaf and greens.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Note: there’s a big difference between the taste of dried and fresh rosemary, because of the strength of the rosemary oils, so I hesitate to give an amount for the fresh. I’d always prefer to use fresh over dried.