Family recipes are steeped in tradition and passed down from generation to generation. Nanna used to make ruffed grouse, often referred to as bush partridge, into a stew, cover it with biscuits, and baked it in the oven to finish. The biscuits were doughy on the bottom, so a slight revision to the recipe meant baking the biscuits separately before using them to top the stew before serving.
Nana’s partridge pie is still a favorite whenever the clan gets together. Hunting grouse in an annual ritual with the goal to harvest enough birds to make a pie, but this recipe works well with any upland game birds.
Preparing Birds and Stock Ingredients • 3-4 whole grouse or pheasants, skinned • 1 stalk of celery sliced • 1 medium onion sliced • 1 carrot sliced • 1 Tbsp pickling spice • 1 bay leaf • 5 cups water
Directions 1. Place the above ingredients in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
2. Remove the grouse and debone the meat from the legs, thighs and breasts, and cut into cubes. Use a strainer to remove the vegetables and spice, and retain the ready stock.
Preparing the Stew Ingredients • meat from grouse, cubed • 1 large onion, diced • 2 celery stalks, sliced • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed • 1 cup frozen peas • grouse and vegetable stock • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Directions 1. Take ½ cup of broth and set aside for thickening stew with cornstarch.
2. Using a Camp Chef cast iron Dutch oven, bring the stock to a boil and add the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the frozen peas. Simmer for 5 minutes with a lid on the pot. Vegetables will still be firm. Add cubed grouse meat and bring the contents back to a boil.
3. Thicken the stew by mixing the retained broth to the cornstarch and whisk together. Turn the heat to medium and slowly add the starch mixture to the stew and stir until it thickens. Reduce heat to low and place the lid on the Dutch oven.
Directions 1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and cut in the shortening using a fork or pastry blender. Add the milk and mix but do not work the mixture too much (the less mixing, the more tender and fluffy the biscuits). Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Pat out to ¾-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or into 2-inch circles.
2. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and place in an oven preheated to 425°F and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Assemble and Serve Place the biscuits on top of the stew and serve. The biscuits will stay crisp on the top and bottom and served with the partridge pie or stew.