Grouse with polenta and girolles

Serves 4

This is an economical way to get four good starter servings out of two grouse. (You can do the same dish with wood pigeon.) Make the polenta the night before; once set, it will last a few days in the fridge.

2 oven-ready grouse
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g butter, softened
A couple of tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil for frying
Flour for dusting
120-150g girolles
1tbsp chopped parsley

For the polenta

500ml milk
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
A pinch of nutmeg
75g quick cooking polenta
75ml double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g freshly grated parmesan

The night before, make the polenta: bring the milk to the boil in a thick-bottomed pan, then add the garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Simmer for 5 minutes then whisk in the polenta and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and parmesan and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Line a small rectangular container with clingfilm and pour in the polenta. Leave to cool then refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 240C/gas mark 8. Rub the grouse with butter and then season them. Place the two birds in a roasting tray and roast for 12-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink, then leave them to rest.

While the grouse are cooking, turn out the polenta and remove the clingfilm. Cut into 1cm-thick slices and dust them with flour. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan and add a knob of butter. Fry the slices of polenta for 2-3 minutes on each side on a medium heat until golden, then remove and keep warm.

Heat another frying pan with the rest of the butter and cook the girolles on a medium heat for a few minutes, seasoning them while they are cooking and turning them with a spoon. Add the parsley and remove from the heat.

Remove the legs from the grouse with a sharp knife, then carefully remove the breasts. Slice the breasts into 4 or 5 slices. Place the slices of polenta on warmed serving plates and arrange the breasts and legs on top. Spoon over the girolles.

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