Perdreau au Lait

Partridge Cooked in Milk

Partridge has been cooked in milk for a very long time. In England, it appeared on the bill of fare at St James’s Palace for 21 January 1740. Has the method died out here? In rural France it continues. This is a dish with a delicate but excellent flavour; the sauce simply complements this fine-fleshed bird.

Ingredients

  • 1 partridge
  • a few sprigs of thyme or serpolet
  • 30 g(1 oz) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • salt, milled pepper
  • 150 ml(¼ pt) very creamy milk
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a small knob of butter
  • ½ teaspoon flour

Method

Wipe the partridge with a damp cloth and tuck the thyme or serpolet into the body cavity.

Melt the butter in a small flame-proof casserole and lightly brown the partridge all over. Remove the bird and soften the onion in the butter.

Place the partridge on top of the onion and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook in a moderate oven (Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F) for 30 minutes.

Pour the milk over the partridge, add a dash of lemon juice, cover the casserole and cook for a further 20–30 minutes or until the partridge is cooked.

Transfer the bird to a hot serving dish. Blend the butter with the flour and add to the cooking liquid in small lumps, stirring over moderate heat until thickened. Spoon over the partridge and serve.

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