Whisky Magazine Issue 8
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Margaret Rand's taste buds were transported when she feasted on game dishes flavoured with whisky created by top chef David Chambers
They serve 50 to 60 grouse a day at Rules, and about 60 pheasants. Chef director David Chambers likes to cook them “as pink as people will eat them” – and at Rules that's pretty pink. Indeed visitors thinking of booking a table at the top restaurant in London's Covent Garden should realise it's not a place to visit if you can't stand the sight of blood.
Game, as every dram-drinking cook knows, has an affinity with whisk(e)y. So we asked Chambers to cook a game menu using whisky – and he opted for grouse, grouse, grouse all the way. Monotonous? Not a bit of it. The terrine uses smoked grouse wrapped in the brightest, greenest, most briefly-blanched cabbage you've ever seen. For the pudding Chambers shaped a chocolate mousse with a couple of spoons until it more or less ressembled a bird, added a pair of chocolate wings, a sauce made with Famous Grouse, and a couple of raspberries to represent drops
How far can you substitute other game for grouse in these recipes? Chambers's view is that you can't – if you do you will never get the same flavour. “Nothing tastes like grouse,” he says. “Nothing smells like grouse when it comes out of the oven. But you could treat wild duck in the same way as the roast grouse.
“I don't hang young grouse. It's best eaten as soon as it's shot. I've been up on the moors on 12 August, waiting for a brace, and then cooked them and eaten them in the garden that day. They're fantastic that way. Old grouse I'd hang for ...