The abundance of game to eat makes autumn a great time of year for our Country Mouse
The year continues to race away: grouse is on the menu in London, although Marks & Spencer has taken it off its shelves due to pressure from the RSPB, which seems blind to the good grouse moors do for the conservation of so many other species, and, next week, the first coveys of partridge will zip across the stubble fields towards the guns.
Despite the actions of that wishy-washy supermarket, we should all eat more game, as it’s incredibly cheap—later in the season, farmer’s markets will be offering four oven-ready partridges or pheasants for a tenner—and, because of the low fat content, it’s among the healthiest meat you can eat. The best grouse I ever had was at the Travellers Club in Pall Mall, London SW1 (the member who took me there told me that it was a great place to join because, as so many of the members were spies, you really weren’t expected to talk), but I prefer grouse served in the traditional manner: roasted with lots of bread sauce.
It seems a shame for chefs to get too clever with such a prized product—simplicity is the key. Partridge is almost as delicious, but I’m not a huge fan of roast pheasant. In my opinion, it needs to be casseroled, but, when cooked well, is the perfect supper on a frosty day. Autumn is already whetting my appetite.
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* This article was first published in Country Life magazine on August 27 2014