The is a simple grouse recipe that has a fantastic mixture of wild rice, cranberries and mushrooms to go with it -- all three are signature flavors of the Northwoods where grouse live. If you can't get your hands on grouse, any white meat bird will do. I prefer true wild rice, which is not cultivated, but any wild rice will work. Mushrooms and fruit syrup are your choice. As for the fruit syrup, I prefer something that lives in the Northwoods, like gooseberry or highbush cranberry or blueberry. I also use homemade gooseberry vinegar here, but cider vinegar is perfectly fine.
Breasts from 4 grouse,skinned with tenders removed
1/2cuprye,barley or whole wheat flour
1to 2 pounds fresh mushrooms,any kind
1/4cupfruit syrup(see above)
Salt the grouse breasts well and set aside at room temperature.
Simmer 1 cup wild rice in the grouse or chicken broth until tender, anywhere from 20 minutes to 50 minutes depending on whether you have real, parched wild rice or the cultivated variety. When the rice is done, drain and set aside in a covered bowl.
Grind the remaining wild rice in a spice grinder into a powder; there will still be some larger bits, and this is OK. It adds some texture. Mix this with the rye flour and dredge the grouse breasts in it.
Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan and saute the grouse breasts until they are just barely done, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Set them aside.
Put the remaining butter in the pan and turn the heat to high. Add all the mushrooms. Shake the pan as you do this so they don't all stick to the bottom. If some do, that's OK. Keep searing and shaking the pan until the mushrooms give up their water. Sprinkle them with salt and add the garlic and thyme. Let the mushrooms sear without moving the pan for 1-2 minutes: You want them to get some browning. Stir the mushrooms and repeat until you get them as browned as you want -- I like them to be about halfway browned, which takes about 8 minutes.
Add cranberries and toss to combine. Cook until they just start popping, then add the wild rice, vinegar and fruit syrup. Toss to combine and serve with the grouse.
Serve this with a light red wine or a zippy white like a Viognier or Albarino. Beer is also a good choice. A simple green salad rounds it all out.