Partridge Casserole

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6

    • Difficulty

      Complex

Appears in

The Times Calendar Cookbook

By Katie Stewart

Published 1977

  • About

Use older birds for casseroling and have them plucked and drawn. Towards the end of the year there is usually plenty of game available for this kind of recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 partridges
  • 100 g/4 oz streaky bacon rashers
  • 225 g/8 oz button onions
  • 225 g/8 oz button mushrooms
  • bouquet garni
  • 1.5 dl/½ pint red wine
  • a scant litre/ pints stock
  • 25 g/1 oz dripping or vegetable fat
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • salt and pepper

    Method

    Wipe over the partridges and set aside. Trim and dice the streaky bacon and, reserving half, heat the remainder in a heavy flameproof casserole until the fat runs. Add the partridges and brown all over. Peel the button onions, leaving them whole. Trim the mushrooms, leaving them whole, and reserve any stalks. Draw the casserole off the heat and add the button onions, mushrooms and bouquet garni. Pour over the red wine and 3 dl (½ pint) of the stock and cover with a lid. Place in the centre of a very moderate oven (160°C., 325°F., Gas Mark 3) and cook for 2–2½ hours or until the birds are tender.

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining bacon pieces in a saucepan along with the dripping or vegetable fat. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan. Cook gently until the onion is soft. Add the flour and continue to cook gently until the mixture is a dark brown colour – about 15 minutes. Gradually stir in the remaining stock and bring up to the boil, stirring all the time to make a brown sauce. Add any mushroom trimmings, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce thickens during cooking time leave it until the partridges are cooked and then thin the sauce with a little of the liquid from the casserole.

    When the partridges are cooked, strain off the liquid and remove the bouquet garni. Lift the birds from the casserole, cool for a few moments, then cut the birds in half, removing each breast and leg section from the carcass. Replace these in the casserole with the vegetables. Add any liquid necessary to the brown sauce and season with salt and pepper. Strain the sauce over the birds, sprinkle with chopped parsley and keep hot until ready to serve.