Roast Partridge with Haricot Beans and Smoked Bacon

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There are two types of partridge, red legged or French partridge, and grey or English partridge. They are both raised and shot in England so there is little point in anyone choosing the latter specifically for patriotic reasons. However, the grey are held to be finer and cost more. Only the young birds should be roasted as the meat has a tendency to be dry. In Britain, game birds are generally wild creatures and even those reared by gamekeepers, like partridge, will usually be bred for their hunting qualities, not for any succulence on the dining table.

Ingredients

  • 4 partridges
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 25g (1oz/¼ stick) butter
  • 100g ( oz) smoked streaky bacon, in one piece
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 400ml (14fl oz/ cups) chicken stock
  • 8 waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte or Yukon Gold, scrubbed
  • 25g (1oz/2 tablespoons) cooked haricot beans
  • 25g (1 oz) chorizo sausage
  • 100g (oz/¾ cup) savoy cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons demi-glace

Method

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Coat the birds with olive oil and fry on each side in a hot, dry pan until the legs start to brown. Lift the partridges onto a roasting tray and coat with lots of soft butter, then roast them for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice the piece of bacon and chop the shallots. Cut the carrots into 2cm (¾in) pieces. Heat a large heavy casserole and fry the bacon, shallots and carrots. Add the stock, potatoes and haricot beans and bring to the boil.

When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the chorizo and roast partridge. Cover and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, adding the cabbage to the casserole after 15 minutes.

To serve, lay the partridge on top of the vegetables and bacon on warm plates. Add the demi-glace to the cooking liquor remaining in the casserole and boil to reduce the mixture to a sauce consistency. Pour the sauce around the plates and serve.

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