Pot-Roast Partridge

This recipe can simply he multiplied by the number you wish to serve. One partridge serves one person.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz / 30 g butter, softened
  • ½ tbsp finely chopped herbs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 partridge
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 1 tbsp port, vermouth or good red wine
  • 1 tsp fruit jelly
  • slice of toast, cut to a round, to serve

Method

Mix the butter, herbs and seasoning. Smear some over the partridge breast, and put the rest inside the cavity. Heat a little more butter in an ovenproof saucepan or flameproof casserole, and fry the bird all over until nicely browned. Pour on the brandy and set alight. Add the port, vermouth or wine. Cover with a lid or foil, and cook in a preheated oven at 190°C / 375°F / Mark 5 for 35 minutes or so. Drain off the cooking juices into a small saucepan, add the fruit jelly, cook and reduce until syrupy. Serve the partridge on a small round of toast with a spoonful or two of sauce.

Variations

Blend a little lemon zest and chopped garlic with the butter and herbs, and brown a thinly sliced shallot with the bird. Omit the brandy, and use Muscat wine instead of port, pouring it over the bird with a tablespoon of chicken or game stock. Peel a handful of large Muscat grapes, cut them in half, remove the pips, and add these to the casserole for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Omit the fruit jelly, and simply reduce the cooking juices to make a sauce.

Do not use herb butter, but simply season the bird and brown it with a little chopped onion. Cut a trimmed celery heart in half, and place the two halves under the bird in the casserole. Scatter a few juniper berries on top, and flame with gin rather than brandy. Add a bay leaf and water instead of the port or wine, and cook as above. To make a sauce, simply reduce the cooking juices.

Pheasant, guinea fowl, and of course, chicken can be cooked in the same way.