I love cooking game and partridge is definitely one of my favourites, a perfect small little bird that doesn’t need much to be cooked to perfection. When partridges appear in the autumn, you know game season has started, yet another wonderful autumnal treat! And of course, singing about the proverbial pear tree is a must at this stage – a tad early but hey, it’s got to be done!
Like most game, partridges are hung up, both to tenderise the meat as well as to build the depth of flavour characteristic with game but younger partridges only want a very short hanging time. If you’re not used to game, this little bird is certainly a good one to start with as it’s the least gamey of all game meats, especially the young ones (cue Cliff & The Shadows).
Needless to say, fresh partridge is best and you should be able to buy oven ready birds, all ready to dress and cook, whether from your butcher r a large supermarket, in autumn and early winter. Partridges don’t need much added flavour, and this pot roast partridge is a classic example of that. Just some vegetables to go with it, savoy cabbage is perfect and some carrots to add that touch of sweetness that I think partridges certainly benefit from.
Generally, small birds like these are best cooked with a layer of ham or bacon to ensure moist meat. If you don’t consume pork, then baste the birds a couple of times.
Partridges are pretty small, so 1 bird is perfect for 1 person. Serve it just the way you would your regular Christmas or Sunday Roast, with side like:
Pot Roast Partridge
- 2 oven ready partridges
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 4 juniper berries, crushed
- 125ml (1/2 cup) dry cider
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
- 1/2 savoy cabbage, hard stem removed and sliced finely
- 1 large carrot, sliced into batons
- 2 slices of bacon rashers
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200˚C/180˚C Fan/400˚F.
- Rinse and dry the partridges, removing any odd feather left.
- Season all over with the salt, pepper and the juniper berries.
- Heat half the butter (1 Tbsp) and all the olive oil in on fairly high heat in an ovenproof casserole dish.
- Brown the birds all over, about 1 minute each side, that includes the sides of the birds.
- Take the birds out on to a plate and keep them warm, close at hand.
- Reduce heat to medium and fry the onions for about a minute. If there is no fat left, add a tsp or two more of olive oil but you should be ok.
- Add the garlic and carrots sticks and cook for another minute.
- Add the cider and stock and bring to boil.
- Add the cabbage and press down slightly, just to moisten the cabbage leaves.
- Place the birds comfortably over the vegetable bed. Place some butter on top of each bird (the second Tbsp). Place the bacon rashers over the birds.
- Cover and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, after basting with the liquid.
- When done, take it out of the oven, cover and let rest for 5 minutes before serving, accompanied with the vegetables and spoon the juices all over.
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: British