Their subtle, delicate flavour makes partridges my favourite game birds. If you are sure you have young partridges they are superb plain roasted; if you aren’t, it is better to braise them. Most often paired with cabbage, partridges go well with fresh and dried fruit and nuts, and a dish of lentils makes a good accompaniment.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole and brown the partridges. Remove them from the pan and fry the onion until soft. Put back the partridges, tuck the apple and figs around them, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and pour over the wine. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add enough water just to cover the birds, cover the casserole tightly and simmer for 1 hour Check to see if the partridges are tender; if they are old they may need up to 30 minutes longer.
Transfer the birds to a serving dish and keep warm. Blend the cooking juices in a food processor or blender, stir in the cream and lemon juice, heat through and pour over the birds.
© 2005 Jill Norman. All rights reserved.