Cooking Wild Recipe: Grouse Satay

Grouse Satay: A satisfying appetizer that stretches a couple upland birds to the max.

I love recipes that can really make a little meat go a long ways — especially when the day’s bounty of a bird or two has to be shared with the whole hunting party.

When there’s not enough meat to go around to all as the main course dish, then do as I do and treat the gang to a delicious bite by serving your prize in appetizer fashion.

Satay, or as some folks spell it, sate, is the national dish of Indonesia where it is said to have originated, but many other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand also lay claim to the tasty creation — thus there are endless varieties of satay recipes to tempt any appetite.

A satay can be made out of any kind of meat that can be skewered. Most traditional recipes call for pork, beef, lamb, seafood and chicken, but I have found that game meats work equally well, especially in this recipe, which I adapted to use grouse breast in place of domestic chicken.

Thin strips of grouse breast are marinated in yogurt sauce for several hours then skewered and grilled until tender. Traditional satays are served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce (such as the one below) that leaves the taste buds tingling! However, sweet and sour or other dipping sauce can be substituted for those who may not be fond of, or allergic to, peanuts.

Of course, if there are enough birds to go around as the full meal deal, you’ll find that a generously loaded skewer goes great over a bed of steamed rice. Fill the glasses with white wine for toasting and the feast is served!

I use homemade curry paste but store-bought prepared curry paste or curry powder works fine and you can chose between mild to hotter varieties to suit your heat tolerance.

To de-bone a grouse breast, take a sharp thin-bladed knife and run it down each side of the breastbone while working the meat away from the bone (as shown in photo). This yields two prime pieces of boneless meat that can now be cut into thin strips for marinating. Be sure to cut away and discard any shot damage and do a double check for pellets! If working with whole birds, the backs and legs (and giblets if retrieved upon field dressing) can be saved and frozen for using in homemade game stocks.

Grouse Satay

Breasts of two grouse, boned and cut into thin strips (if using only one bird you can halve the ingredients)

Marinade

  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (this is what gives the meat its delightful golden colour)
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley

Combine marinade ingredients in flat glass dish. Place grouse strips in the marinade and toss until meat is coated. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Thread the grouse strips onto wooden skewers working in a weaving fashion; loading three or four strips onto each stick or a making enough sticks to go around as needed. Heat the grill and brush with oil to prevent sticking. Grill the grouse satays for two to three minutes before brushing with oil and turning. Continue cooking until meat is nicely seared and cooked through, another two to three minutes. Serve with peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red curry or red chili paste (or amount to suit taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili flakes (optional)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • About ¼ cup of rice or white wine

Put all ingredients, except wine, in blender and blend until smooth using enough wine to thin the mixture to desired dipping consistency. Garnish with a few whole peanuts upon serving. Leftover sauce will save up to a week in the fridge and is great as dipping sauce for cold cooked venison roast.

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