HRH Prince Charles - Groussaka (Grouse Moussaka)

Monday 26 November 2018
Are you game for a dish fit for a future king? Prince Charles revealed his love of 'groussaka' as he celebrated his 70th birthday. His version of the Greek dish Moussaka, but with grouse instead of lamb.

(Yes I know they are cuddly pheasants - anyone want to knit me a grouse?)

It turns out that I have something in common with HRH The Prince of Wales. When he celebrated his 70th birthday a couple of weeks ago (no I'm not 70!) he shared his love of game and in particular pheasant crumble and grouse moussaka. Game is something that I too love and I'll often choose from a menu when dining out but admittedly it's not something that I tend to cook at home. I've pondered on the reasons for this and there are a number which I suspect others can relate to. Firstly it's really not something that you can easily pick up in the supermarket, then there's the 'Bambi' factor, misconceptions of strong taste and tough texture and lastly worries about plucking and preparing. I suspect that Prince Charles doesn't have to factor in any of these as whilst he may well be involved in shooting he's not actually doing the cooking!

Certainly in recent years farmers markets have helped to increase the availability of game and butchers can usually order given advance notice. Occasionally you come across products in the supermarket but these tend to be pre-prepared items such as sausages and burgers rather than cuts that you can use in recipes. There's a good selection of online outlets which sell frozen game year round so with a wee bit of forward planning it is possible to cook at home. For this recipe I had to mince the grouse breasts myself but a butcher should be able to do this for you. Alas I'm not a fan of aubergines which are one of the main ingredients of Moussaka so I missed them out and added more potatoes. Most definately a dish fit for a future king. 

Groussaka - Grouse Moussaka
Adapted from a recipe by Wild & Game and reproduced with permission

For the filling
500g minced grouse
1 courgette, sliced
1 large or 2 small aubergines, sliced 
3 medium potatoes
Half a tube of tomato puree – about 100g
3 tsp garlic paste or 3 cloves
Half tsp ground cloves
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
200g diced onions
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Rapeseed oil for frying

For the béchamel topping
600ml milk
75g butter
60g plain flour
3 egg yolks
100g Parmesan
Salt & pepper

Fry your onions in oil until soft.
Meanwhile, put the potatoes on to boil. Once bubbling, set the timer to 10 minutes. When done, drain, leave to cool, then thinly slice.
While your potatoes are cooking, add the meat to your pan and stir till browned.
Add the garlic and spices.
Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, sugar and simmer for 45 mins, topping up with water if it starts to look dry. Season to taste.
Make the béchamel: Put the milk in a saucepan, add the flour, butter and seasonings and bring everything gradually up to simmering point over a medium heat. Whisk continuously with a balloon whisk until the sauce has thickened and becomes smooth and glossy. Take off the heat, and whisk in the Parmesan and egg yolks. Season.
Layer the meat mixture with the sliced vegetables in a lasagne dish, then top with the béchamel.
Cook for 40 mins at 180 degrees, checking regularly. If the top starts to brown too quickly, turn the heat down slightly.

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