January 23rd, 2013
The Red-legged Partridge is a small game bird introduced to Britain from mainland Europe – it’s particularly common in France and Spain. The shooting season for partridge is a month longer than for pheasant and runs from Sept 1 – Feb 1.
Having roasted lots of game birds lately I though it would make a nice change to pot roast this brace, rather than just putting them in the oven. Pot roasting, or slow cooking in stock with vegetables, ensures the meat is tender and juicy with a delicious sauce to boot (not that there’s any reason these birds would be anything other than tasty – I happen to know that they had been dining on cavolo nero for quite a few weeks).
Pot Roasted Partridges (serves 2):
2 Partridges (oven ready)
4 slices of smoked, streaky bacon (chopped)
1 pint of home made pheasant stock (chicken would also do)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 medium carrots (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
8 button mushrooms (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 dessertspoonful of tomato purée
a small squirt of anchovy paste
a pinch of ground chillies
1 dessertspoonful of plain flour
2 teaspoons of ground rosemary, sage and thyme (with sea salt and a few black peppercorns)
2 bay leaves
a glass of red wine
a splash of red wine vinegar
a dessertspoonful of goose fat
Brown the partridges all over in hot goose fat. Remove the birds and deglaze the pan with the wine and vinegar. Save the deglazing liquid.
In a large cast iron casserole, fry the onions in olive oil with a pinch of crushed chilli. Once the onions are translucent, add the bacon, followed a few minutes later by the garlic, celery and carrots. Stir the mushrooms in after the other vegetables have had about 4 minutes of cooking.
When the mushrooms have been coated in oil, stir in the flour and ground herbs, then put the partridges into the casserole.
Pour in the pheasant stock and deglazing liquid, along with the purée, anchovy paste and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a simmer, put the lid on and move the casserole to a pre heated oven at 120º C. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I recommend tasting at 45 minute intervals and just before serving. The flavours will mellow with cooking and it might be necessary to add a little more wine, vinegar, tomato purée or anchovy paste. Only add a small amount at a time – you can always add more, but you can’t take it out if you add too much!
Serve with mashed potato or celeriac. I recommend drinking a hearty red wine, such as a Spanish, Carta Roja Monastrell.
¡¡ Que bien se te dan los guisos tío !!
Esa salsa tiene solera
Muchas gracias – que es un gran elogio 🙂
They look wonderful. I think pot-roasting is often best for small birds like these. I often see partridges in the vineyards here, but I think the hunters must keep them all for themselves!
Thanks – they certainly don’t shrivel up when pot roasted and all the flavour from the bones goes into the sauce 🙂
Gracias Giovanna 🙂
Am convinced you are just trying to make those of us with no access to pheasants and partridges, and, oh yes, venison jealous lately! The anchovy paste is ‘the secret ingredient’, isn’t it? And oh yes, am having cavolo nero for lunch, picked just now from own garden bed 😀 !
Sorry Eha, it’s getting towards the end of the shooting season and birds are plentiful, not to mention fat! You’ve found my secret ingredient – anchovy paste is indeed brilliant in most savoury dishes. I use it when things need salt – the paste is salty and adds a little extra. You can’t taste the fish 😉
Cavolo nero is delicious – bon appétit!
Great looking birds! I’ve never prepared partridge before… Lovely recipe!
Thanks Tessa 🙂
As is the case with pheasant, I just don’t see any partridge in my near future. I think, though, i could use your method to pot roast game hens. It’s the sauce that I really want to taste. Yes, I caught that you used anchovy paste, too. I love what it brings to a sauce. All ’round, a great recipe, MD.
Thanks John – try it with wood pigeon, I think the taste is quite similar 🙂
Looks delicious. Love the addition of anchovy paste.
Thanks Rosemary 🙂
Really delicious way of serving partridge. The lanes around here are filled with partridge wandering around and pecking at the grain left from the passage of farm vehicles. You have to hoot to get them to move out of the way:)
I think I’d be laying trails of grain into my back yard where your are 😉
Oh wow Craig! That looks amazing, I could just dip into that with a piece of bread! Perrrrfect for these cold Madrid days!
Thanks Carla – that reminds me of a Catalan expression – per mullar pa 🙂
Yup….i suquar els dits!
It can get messy eating those little legs 😉
I can only sit here and wish I had all your lovely game birds here. Your dish sounds delicious and I agree about anchovy paste.
Thanks Karen. I wish I could send you all a brace of partridge by UPS, but I don’t think it’s legal. I went past a butcher yesterday who had 10 braces in the window for £6 – so they are quite cheap 😉
If I could find them here, they would cost a pretty penny.
Ooh they look so good. Don´t think I´ll be shooting any before 1st Feb (maybe I could buy a catapult, they´re not very bright are they). Fabulous recipe!
Thanks – maybe your mum could buy a brace and put them on the train 😉
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