Game season is one that many of us look forward to with great anticipation every year. But game birds, delicious as they are, have one great problem – much of the meat ends up being left of the bone once carved and consumed. One can’t help but look at the wastage with a heavy heart. Grouse is a particular offender in this respect, but also happens to be my favourite game bird. A winter game soup or broth is a perfect way to use the meat left on the carcasses and with no loss of flavour either. So keep your carcasses after cooking or ask the restaurant to package up your leftover ones to take home. This can be made with other game birds too; pigeon, guinea fowl, partridge and pheasant would all work well, while garlic butter fired toast topped with liver pate would make a nice side for it.
Ingredients (Serves 2-4)
2 grouse carcasses, legs separated, the remaining carcass broken into 2 or 3, and any liver, kidneys or heart still in the cavity should be removed.
500ml chicken stock, homemade if possible
500ml boiling water
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
1 leek finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
6-8 small shallots, quartered
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- In a large saucepan heat a good glug of olive oil. Add the shallots, dried thyme, salt and pepper and fry till the shallots start to brown.
- To the pan add the rest of the vegetables and the garlic. Mix everything together and then allow them to soften. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the carcasses to the pan and then cover in the chicken stock and water. Stir the ingredients and then bring it to the boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers and leave it to simmer for one hour.
- After the soup has simmered for an hour, take it off the heat. Remove the carcasses and set aside. When the carcasses are cool enough to handle strip the meat off them and return to the soup. Reheat the soup if necessary and serve.