Ruffed grouse are a highly coveted gamebird throughout North America. Besides having a large distribution, the upland birds offer succulent white meat with a unique aroma and flavor. Ruffies, or bush partridge, as they are often called, like forest habitat and are often found on edges where they forage for berries.
Cooking grouse with apricots and fragrant spices is reminiscent of the tart and often tangy berries that grow in the wild, which naturally make a great accompaniment for the forest grouse.
Hunting camps are commonly where recipes are created, and although fresh ingredients are always preferred when cooking, a can of apricots in bird camp was the base and inspiration for this dish. Poaching the birds in a fruit sauce ensures the white flesh stays moist and tender, and helps to celebrate the natural flavors of the grouse.
• 4 to 6 grouse breasts, boneless
• 1 14 oz. can apricots, drained and stones removed
• 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• 3 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
1. Place the apricots, coriander and fennel seeds, salt and pepper, garlic, white wine vinegar, and olive oil in a food processor and blend until they form a smooth puree.
2. In a Camp Chef cast-iron frying pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat and brown the grouse, cooking on each side for approximately 2 minutes. It is important not to overcook the meat in this step, just brown it.
3. Pour the apricot puree over the browned grouse, cover the pan with a lid, and gently simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Serve the grouse on a bed of rice and top with extra sauce from the pan.
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