Wild fowl - Grouse (r)
Wild fowl


The rock ptarmigan is known just as a ptarmigan in the UK and Canada. In the summer they are camouflaged in reddish brown and grey, while in the winter they change to their white winter coat, which is why they're known as the snow chicken in the USA.

Living in a cold climate means they have feathers on their feet to keep them warm. Ptarmigan have often been cooled down too quickly – making them dry. There's no trick in the kitchen that can do anything about that.

Ptarmigan weigh half a kilo or a bit more. Many people say that ptarmigan is the best wild fowl flesh of all, with a clear gamey flavor from a dark and tender meat with a fine texture.

Keep in mind

Members of the grouse family, like capercaillie, grouse and ptarmigan have the most gamey flavor of all wild fowl.

How to cook ptarmigan

One bird is usually enough for 1 person.

Older birds can be thin and dry and work best in a ragu. Even in a casserole you will need to add fat in the form of lard, bacon or similar.

Oven-roasted ptarmigan is good:

  • Start by roasting the potatoes and garlic at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
  • Cut out the breast and thighs from the ptarmigan and brown them quickly in a hot pan with lots of butter.
  • Put the ptarmigan on the potato tray with bacon, apple, mushrooms and sprigs of rosemary. Shave butter over the top.
  • Reduce the heat to 150°C and cook until the internal temperature of the meat is 50-52°C.
  • Leave it all to rest before eating and enjoying.


Roast the ptarmigan whole and make a delicious sauce out of game stock and blackcurrants: Roast in the oven at 170-180°C to an internal temperature of 70°C. Estimate 45 minutes or a bit longer. Cover the flesh of the meat with fat in one form or other.

The basics when roasting whole birds:

  • Remove the giblets. Save the liver, heart and gizzard (e.g. for the sauce).
  • Wipe the bird dry and remove any feathers with tweezers.
  • Add fat under the skin, e.g. bacon and/or lard.
  • Season on the outside and on the inside.
  • Tie the bird into a neat shape for more even cooking.
  • Juices run clear = completely cooked.
  • Leave the meat to rest! But serve freshly cooked!

Make a delicious soup – consommé – from the carcass.

You'll find more ideas for cooking wild fowl under cooking wild fowl.

The classic

Ptarmigan stew Scandinavian style with cream, whey cheese, rowanberry jelly and juniper.

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