- 4 oven-ready grey partridges (ask your butcher to prepare them for you)
- 100g butter, softened, plus extra for the kale
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 good quality pork sausages (about 280g total weight)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 80g bacon lardons
- 1⁄2 carrot, finely diced
- 1⁄2 leek, washed and diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1⁄4 celeriac (about 200g), peeled and diced
- 175g puy lentils, rinsed and drained
- 300ml chicken bone broth
- 200g chestnut or girolle mushrooms
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp chopped chives
- 500g kale, washed and tough stems removed
- salt and pepper
Partridge is one of the earliest game birds you’ll be able to buy during the game season, usually appearing at the start of September. It has a naturally milder flavour and is sweeter and more tender than some of the meatier birds, such as pheasant and grouse, so often it is a good introduction for people who are new to game. This roast partridge recipe is a perfect dish for warming even the chilliest of evenings.
Excerpts from ‘Nurture: Notes and Recipes from Daylesford Farm‘ by Carole Bamford, £35, published by Square Peg
METHODDIFFICULTY: Medium 1 HR 20 MINS
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6.
Rub the partridges with half of the softened butter, season well and place in the oven. Roast for 25–30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest.
Meanwhile, melt the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and brown the sausages, then remove from the pan. Add the onion and lardons to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the carrot, leek, garlic, celery and celeriac and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the lentils with 500ml water, the bone broth and browned sausages and season well with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25–30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until soft all the way through and browned. Once cooked, add to the cooked lentils with the parsley and chives and stir through.
Add the kale to a pan with just the water clinging to its leaves. Cover and cook over a medium heat until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well and toss with a little butter.
Spoon the mushrooms, lentils and sausages into a serving dish, lay the partridges on the top and serve with the buttered kale.