Partridges are usually very tasty in November/December, and this next recipe makes a good dinner-party main course. So, too, does the previous, more rustic recipe.
If necessary, untruss the birds and remove the barding fat. Put a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme and a piece of orange zest in the cavity of each bird. Rub them all over with orange juice, and rub the butter over the breasts.
In a heavy casserole, brown the birds all over, and then flame with the cognac or brandy. Season lightly, and then pour in the wine. Bring to the boil, cover the casserole, and then bake in the oven for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Transfer the birds to a serving platter, and boil up the pan juices to make a gravy. Garnish with bunches of watercress, curls of orange zest or orange wedges, and serve with the gravy.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.