Apricot-Mustard Braised Grouse

Apricot-Mustard Braised Grouse

One of the highlights of Autumn, for me, is a dinner of fresh game birds accompanied by wild rice and roasted sweet potatoes.

My grandfather was a hunter and, growing up, I regularly feasted on game birds.  We were admonished to chew the meat slowly, thus avoiding pellets. That fear of chipping a tooth was a blessing. Small bites, savoring the meat, I had time to appreciate its wonderful woodland flavor, so different than mass-produced chicken and turkey.

Over-cooking small game birds, such as grouse or partridge, is the most common problem-they cook to perfection much sooner than you’d think. Wrapping game birds in bacon is a common technique-I enjoy the smoked flavor the bacon lends to the birds. Purists, however, scoff at my practice saying it interferes with the sublime flavor of the meat. Leaving off the bacon in this recipe is fine.

I also use this simple marinade for partridge and Cornish game hens; brands do make a difference. The Looza Apricot Nectar combined with Honeycup Mustard is important to the flavor profile.

Recipe: Apricot-Mustard Braised Grouse


  • 2 cups apricot nectar
  • 1/2 cup honey mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 slices bacon, optional
  • 4 ruffed grouse (8-9 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Wash grouse well and place in extra large zip-lock bag or bowl. Whisk together nectar and mustard and pour into an extra large zip-lock bag or bowl. Place grouse into bag or bowl and marinate 24 hours, turning once.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Remove birds from marinade. Place marinade in a small pan and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3-5 minutes.
  4. Lightly season grouse with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (the bacon will add additional sodium). Wrap bacon around grouse, securing with toothpicks if necessary. In a heavy bottomed sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown grouse and bacon on all sides of bird (apx. 15 minutes). Pour reduced marinade over grouse. Place grouse, breast side down, covered, on centered rack of oven.
  5. Bake 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your bird, or until just cooked.

Marinate Time: 24 hours

Active Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 15-25 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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