Capercaillie & Coniferous Forest

Magnus Nilsson, Fäviken - October 23rd, 2013

Adapted from Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson

For 6 servings (requires advance preparation)

Fermented mushroom & oat juice:

  • 22 lbs. mushroom scraps and trimmings
  • 22 lbs. whole barley
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsps. iodine-free sea salt
  • 4 1/2 lb. active starter dough
  1. Heat steam oven to 212°F.

  2. Mix mushrooms, barley, and salt in a bowl; spread about 1 1/4" thick on stainless-steel trays; steam 1 hour; remove from oven; cover with plastic wrap; cool.

  3. Divide starter dough among wooden buckets (used only for this purpose); add mushroom mixture; mix well; let stand overnight; place into sterilized glass jars; seal; place in cool, dark, dry spot; reserve 6 months before using.

Assembly:

  • 1 capercaillie (wood grouse) with feathers, feathers plucked
  • moss (for pot)
  • autumn leaves (for pot)
  • pine branches (for pot)
  • 6 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. game bird stock
  • 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsps. whole wheat flour
  • salt
  • 30 pine needles
  • 30 fresh cranberries on stalk
  • 30 rowan berries on stalk
  • 12 green juniper berries, chopped
  • assorted lichens (for serving)
  • green moss, roughy chopped (for serving)
  • 3 Tbsps. pine needle oil
  1. Break down bird, keeping breast attached to bone and removing thighs, heart, liver, backbone, wings, feet, and contents of crop; reserve thighs, heart and liver; reserve other parts for other uses.

  2. Heat grill to high with pine wood charcoals.

  3. Grill breast (still attached to bone) until brown on both sides; remove from heat; place some moss, leaves, and branches in cast-iron pot set over medium heat; place breasts on top skin-side up; cook until cooked through; add broth and thighs; bring to a boil; cook until thighs are cooked through; strain by ladling into fine-mesh chinois set over clean pot; reserve broth, breasts, and thigh meat separately; place 1 Tbsp. broth into each individual casserole dish for serving; reserve.

  4. Bring remaining broth in pot to a boil; cook until reduced to a little less than 1/2 cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. butter and flour; reduce heat to low; cook, stirring, until sauce is very thick; remove from heat.

  5. Place sauce in a blender; add reserved heart and liver; blend until smooth; reserve (keep warm).

  6. Heat 1/2 Tbsp. butter in nonstick skillet set over medium heat; remove bones from thighs; discard bones; add thighs to pan; cover with parchment paper round; cook, turning, until brown all over; remove from heat; cut against the grain into thin slices; place on a plate; reserve (keep warm); add lichens and remaining 1/2 Tbsp. butter to pan; cook quickly just to glaze; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  7. To serve, divide lichens among serving plates, arranging as you would cooked mushrooms; remove bones from breasts; season; finely chop pine needles; sprinkle over breasts; cut them into meat as you slice against the grain; arrange pieces along with thigh meat on plates next to lichen; spoon heart and liver cream next to breast meat; spoon more cream sauce around plate, scatter cranberries around each plate, dividing evenly; drizzle 3 Tbsps. fermented mushroom and oat juice evenly among plates around meat and lichen; sprinkle juniper berries over meat; squeeze rowan berries gently in fingers to burst; scatter around meat and lichen; sprinkle with chopped green moss; add a few drops pine needle oil to each cup of warm broth to serve alongside dish.