Field To Plate Chinese Orange Grouse
Hunting season is finally here! It’s time to buckle down and start working hard to fill tags and freezers with some high quality protein for myself and my family. Since my elk license isn’t valid until October, I’m taking advantage of this tag-less September to harvest as many dusky (blue) grouse as legally possible. Before we pack it all away, I HAVE to make Chinese Orange “Grouse” and I decided to share the recipe so you can too!
If you’ve never heard of grouse before, they’re basically the “chicken of the woods” because they sound, look, and taste just like chicken, except BETTER! They’re free of all the additives, preservatives, and whatever else you find in store bought chicken – plus I can spend tons of much needed time in the mountains responsibly sourcing them myself. Talk about a win-win!
I’m lucky enough to live in a part of New Mexico where we have an abundance of grouse. We have a limit of 3 per person/per day, with a total of 6 in possession, for up to five days after the season ends. Kind of confusing, I know! If I’d like to have any stored away for the upcoming year I can simply request a permit from the Game and Fish to do so. I don’t plan on going through that process until we’re closer to the season end (remember the 6 in possession rule?) so the meantime I’ll cook it fresh or give it away, with a G&F compliant letter, to family/friends. This allows me to harvest, enjoy, and share more than 6 total in the entire season, because let’s face it, grouse is SO GOOD but SO SMALL!
When it comes to cooking grouse I have my go-to seasonings and marinades, but sometimes they can get old. A couple of years back I decided to try my hand at Chinese Orange “Grouse” and let me tell you, I’ve never looked at grouse (or orange chicken) the same way again! It takes a little bit of time and effort, but I promise it’s totally worth it. Whether you want to try something new with your grouse meat or you want to introduce someone to wild game for the first time, this recipe is the way to go. Although I wouldn’t blame you if you decided not to share! So here’s what you’ll need to get started – after you harvest your grouse of course:
1 ½. lbs (about 8-10) boneless skinless Grouse breasts cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
Crushed red pepper or Sriracha to taste (optional)
- Make the marinade by whisking together chicken broth, orange juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, ginger, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. I always do a quick taste test in case I need to add more crushed red pepper, honey, or soy sauce to balance out the flavor.
- Combine the grouse and 1/2 cup of the marinade in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you have the time or patience to let it sit overnight, even better! Drain the grouse and discard the marinade.
- Next we’ll get the meat battered and fried. If you want to skip this step for whatever reason, you can simply grill or bake the grouse and continue on with the recipe.
- Toss the grouse in 1/2 cup of flour. Then, working one at a time, dip the pieces in the beaten eggs and toss in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. You can use more flour as needed to evenly coat. Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan on medium/high heat. Test the oil by dipping a piece of grouse in, if it starts to sizzle, it’s ready. Working in batches, add grouse and fry until golden brown and cooked through. Careful not to overcrowd!
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Heat the remaining marinade in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir in 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water. Add in the grouse and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired. Serve with and your choice of rice and steamed broccoli. Enjoy!
So there you have it! Hopefully, this gave you some inspiration to get out in the field (and in the kitchen) as soon as possible. I know that’s where I’ll be! Don’t forget to check your state’s rules and regulations first.
Best of luck this season!