Roast partridge with cider gravy
- December 2011
- Serves 2
- Hands-on time 20 min, cooking time 25 min
A perfect roast for two people. Debbie Major’s partridge recipe with streaky bacon and cider gravy is bound to impress.
- 43.2g (16.6g saturated)
- 10.9g carbs (8.6g sugars)
- 20g butter
- 4 large fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 oven-ready partridges
- 6 rindless dry-cured smoked streaky bacon rashers, 4 left whole, 2 chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 100ml cider
- 150ml homemade chicken stock
- 1 tbsp crab apple and cider jelly
- (I like Peyton & Byrne, in the Food from Kew range at shop.kew.org) or redcurrant jelly
- ½ tsp soft butter
- ½ tsp plain flour
- Watercress to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8. Push a knob of butter and a thyme sprig into the cavity of each partridge, then season well. Cross 2 bacon rashers over the breast of each bird, truss them into a neat shape and secure with string.
- Heat the olive oil in a small roasting tin, add the onion and chopped bacon, then fry gently for 5 minutes until lightly brown. Scoop into the centre of the tin, put the partridges on top, then roast for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and roast for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove the tin from the oven and lift the birds onto a plate. Cover with foil and leave somewhere warm to rest while you make the gravy.
- Pour the excess fat out of the roasting tin, then place it over a medium-high heat. As soon as it sizzles, add the cider. Scrape the tin with a wooden spoon to release the caramelised juices, then boil for 2 minutes until syrupy. Add the stock and crab apple jelly, then bubble vigorously for 4-5 minutes until reduced and nicely flavoured. Strain into a small pan, then bring back to a simmer. Blend the soft butter with the flour in a cup and whisk in, a little at a time, until the gravy is thickened. Season and serve with the roast partridge, along with a small bunch of watercress.
Debbie says: “Prepare the birds for the oven (step 1), then chill for 24 hours until ready to cook. I learned from a game dealer many years ago how to tell the age of any game bird – which will then tell you how best to cook it. If the breast bone is slightly soft and can be wobbled from side to side, the bird is young and ideal for roasting. If it’s harder and more bony, it’s older, and better pot-roasted, braised or casseroled.”
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