While I was choosing my birds, I noticed some merguez on the same stall. Merguez are a spicy sausage from the Maghreb (North Africa), typically made from mutton or beef, with cumin, chilli or harissa. I was intending to buy some pork sausages from another stall, but I thought partridge would be really good stuffed with a spicy mutton sausage.
Partridge stuffed with meguez recipe:
1 partridge per person (plucked and dressed)
1 merguez sausage (per bird)
3 slices smoked streaky bacon (per bird)
butter to grease the roasting dish
1/4 pint game stock
a splash of red wine vinegar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
Grease a small baking dish with butter (save paper wrappers from packs of butter specifically for this). Gently cut down the length of a merguez sausage with a sharp knife and peel off the casing. Take your partridge and push the sausage meat into the cavity.
Sprinkle a little sea salt and black pepper onto the partridge and wrap it with 3 slices of smoked streaky bacon. There’s very little fat on a game bird, so the bacon will help to keep it moist. Add a little game stock (chicken is a good substitute) and red wine vinegar to the pan and put the bird into a preheated oven at 200º C.
A partridge is normally done in 20 – 30 minutes, but since this one was stuffed, I gave it an hour in the oven. When the bacon looks crispy, remove it, baste the bird with the juices in the pan and give it another 10 minutes for the skin to brown. Do keep the bacon and chop it up – serve it with your vegetables.
There’s no need to overcook a partridge – it doesn’t need to be burnt to a crisp. Both lamb and game should be served pink.
If you have any doubts, use a digital thermometer for an anal probe – 62º C is good, but do rest the bird for 10 minutes (preferably breast down and in foil to keep it warm), while you make some gravy.
Use the pan juices and additional stock for the gravy.
See here for instructions on how to pluck a partridge.