Simply Roast Partridge

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Ingredients:

– 4 partridges, dressed
– Juice from 1 lemon
– 8 slices of back bacon
– 50g butter
– 75ml dry white wine
– 150ml game stock
– cornflour (for gravy)
– 4 slices of white bread

For the stuffing:

– Handful of blackcurrants or brambles
– 100g roast ham
– 2 medium onions
– Zest from 1 lemon
– 100g butter
– 2 eggs
– Handful of fresh parsley
– 75g soft white breadcrumbs

Partridge are a perfectly formed bird and seriously tasty. I’m a fan of English partridge though they are very much scarcer these days. It has a more subtle flavour that’s slightly richer than its French counterpart, so with subtlety in mind a simple roast is the order of the day.

First things first, make your stuffing. Roughly chop the onions and put into the food processor. Rip the ham into bits, throw into the food processor as well, add the berries, lemon zest, parsley and butter before blitzing for a minute.

Place breadcrumbs, two lightly beaten eggs, seasoning and the contents of the food processor into the bowl; mix and set aside.

Melt butter and into it squeeze juice of a lemon. Use a pastry brush to cover all four birds in this glaze. Wrap two slices of bacon around each bird, then place all four dressed partridges into a good size roasting tin, pour the wine into the tin, cover the whole thing with foil and place in a moderate oven (190°C, gas mark 5).

After 30 mins, remove the foil and drain off the juices into a saucepan. Put partridge back into the oven for a further 15-30mins to crisp up.

While the partridge is finishing off, bring the juices to a boil to make a stock. Meanwhile, have a frying pan on a medium heat with oil and a knob of butter, take each piece of bread one at a time and fry until golden each side. If you’re feeling fancy, you can cut the bread into a circle or any other shape you desire. Otherwise, just throw the whole slice in.

By this point your stock should be up to heat, put two heaped teaspoons of cornflour into a bowl, add a little cold water and blend into a paste.

Pour the paste into the stock and whisk until thickened, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the partridge from the oven and leave to rest until the gravy and croutons are done.

Place the croutons onto the plates, pop a roast partridge on top of each and drench it in gravy. Serve with fresh vegetables and new potatoes, bread sauce or redcurrant jelly and enjoy.

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