Pernici con Passione

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

Published 1986

  • About

Three little partridges with red beaks and coral feet flown from San Vincente de Alcántara in Spain and hung for a week by the Veronese pollaiolo in Via Mazzini, induced a confederate to dash out in the snow and come back with a bottle of Vecchia Romagna.


  • the 3 birds
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • 4 tablespoons of extra vergine olive oil
  • a scarce handful of dried porcini
  • 100 g ( oz) pure pork fat
  • 1 tablespoon of Vecchia Romagna
  • ¼ litre (9 fl oz) of Valpolicella
  • a dessertspoon of goose fat
  • 2 sprigs of lemon-scented thyme
  • 300 g (10½ oz) of little pickling onions
  • a tablespoon of oil (or butter)
  • salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar


    We plucked the birds, emptied their crops, removed their entrails and severed their necks and coral feet; stuffed sprigs of thyme inside them with a garlic clove and salt and applied some salt outside; then trussed them, laid them in a deep dish and anointed them with a little olive oil. We soaked the fungi in a little tepid water.

    The birds were browned in a copper frying pan in pure pork fat, to which goose fat was added. The fat was then poured off into the braising pan and the birds were flared in the heated Vecchia Romagna before they too were transferred to this pan. Three unpeeled garlic cloves and two sprigs of lemon-scented thyme were put in, the heated Valpolicella was added, the lid put on and weighted, and the pan set on a low heat to cook at a lively bubble, the contents being basted from time to time. After 40 minutes the fungi were strained, and put in with the birds, with very little of their liquor.

    The little onions were blanched in boiling water for 10 minutes, skinned and put into a small pan with oil, salt and a pinch of sugar. Shaken now and then on a low flame, in 20 minutes they were golden.

    When the partridges were almost ready the onions were put in but not their oil, and after 1¼ hours all told the partridges were set on a dish with the glazed onions, the fungi-impregnated sauce being poured over them, and served with passato di patate.

    There were three partridges and three people – the best partridges these people had ever eaten. According to the game man in Verona, the hare, the partridge and the turtle dove are the only game which cannot be raised by human agency. This is wild food, respectfully treated; one abandons knife and fork and eats it with the fingers.