First make the stock for the sauce:
place a large saucepan over a medium-high
heat. When it is hot, melt the butter
with the sunflower oil. Add the grouse
legs and brown in the pan for
4-5 mins, turning regularly. Add the
shallot, bay leaf, thyme and whisky,
and reduce the heat. Allow any liquid to
evaporate, then add the chicken stock.
Press the legs down in the stock so that
they are all covered. Reduce the heat to
a bare simmer and cook gently for 1 hr.
Discard the legs. Strain the stock into
a clean pan and reduce, over a medium
heat, until you have about 300ml. Allow
this to cool, then cover and chill if not
using immediately. Can be done a day
ahead up to this stage. You can finish
the sauce once the grouse are cooked.
Clean the grouse: remove any
remaining feathers, and rinse the birds
inside and out with cold water. Pat them
dry with kitchen paper. Divide the butter
between the cavities of the birds, and
add to each a thyme sprig and some
chopped shallot. Season the birds inside
and out, and wrap a slice of pancetta
over the top of each bird. The birds are
now ready to cook, but can be chilled for
several hours if necessary – allow them
to come to room temperature before you
cook them (this will take 1 hr or so).
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Place the grouse in a roomy roasting
tin and the buttered slices of bread on a
baking tray – they will toast at the same
time as the grouse cook. To cook the
grouse to medium, put in the oven for
18-20 mins. Keep an eye on the toasts
and remove them when they are golden
brown. The grouse are cooked when the
breasts feel firm to the touch. If you have
a cooking thermometer, cook them so
that the thickest part of the breast, just
above the wing, registers 55C.
Remove the birds from the oven.
Place each on a piece of the buttered
toast to absorb any juices that drain from
the birds. Cover loosely with a piece of
foil and leave to rest for 10 mins while
you finish the sauce.
Put the roasting tin on the heat
and, when it is warm, add the grouse
stock. Let it simmer, scraping the juices
from the bottom so that they dissolve
in the stock. Add the redcurrant jelly,
blackcurrants, beetroot, and finally the
cassis. Simmer the sauce for 3-4 mins,
then remove from the heat and season
to taste. Serve the grouse on heated
plates with a little sauce drizzled around,
and some buttered spinach, if you like.