Male Ruffed Grouse in courtship display.
Grouse Breast Piquante
(From the book 40+ recipes to make food taste as you think it shoud. ISBN 0-9686559-0-4
There are many ways to cook game birds but this recipe certainly produces the most elegant meal and possibly the tastiest as well. The combination of flavours here makes this far and away the finest possible way to present ruffed grouse - with these fine birds the recipe truly sings!
Wild shaggy mane and field mushrooms grow in profusion in our area during the early part of the grouse hunting season, and make an excellent accompaniment to this recipe.
If you can't get grouse, another game bird will do; second best would be guinea fowl and after that, pheasant, pigeon, wild duck or chicken, but this is a pungent recipe that does best with more strongly flavoured game.
Remove the breast meat in fillets and pound the thicker pieces gently with a wooden mallet or cleaver until all pieces are the same thickness.
The skillet to be used for this recipe should be heavy enameled iron or heavy stainless steel; an ordinary iron or steel pan will discolour the white breast meat of grouse or pheasant.
Dredge the fillets lightly with seasoned flour and sauté slowly in a little butter until done. Do not allow surface of fillets to crisp. Arrange in a single layer on a platter and reserve, covered, in 200 degree oven.
In the skillet (with a little more butter if necessary), sauté the onion until soft and translucent. (Our #1 son obtained some of his early working experience as a pearl diver in a Japanese restaurant. Cooks there told him always to slice onions lengthwise. To cut across the grain "offends" the onion. We don't know if they were putting him on, but onions certainly seem sweeter and tastier when slivered this way.)
When the onion is ready, add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and one packet of powdered beef stock dissolved in 3/4 cup of hot stock or water. Deglaze pan and reduce sauce by half to thicken (thickening can be hastened with a little more cold butter). Just before serving add one tablespoon of chopped parsley and tarragon and one tablespoon of chopped sour pickles (optional).
Pour sauce over cooked fillets and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with brown/red rice combo and any of lightly steamed carrot and zucchini slices, snow peas, sautéed mushrooms or squash.