Partridge is a mild-tasting game bird similar to guinea fowl, only a little smaller. It does not have the rich, red meat of grouse, but neither is it as dry as pheasant, nor as bland as a domestic chicken. For most people, partridge is the sweet spot for versatile game cooking.
In the UK, partridge are in season from 1 September – 1 February.In the UK, our common variety is grey partridge, but stocks are in decline, Estimates suggest that there are just 250,000 breeding pairs in the country.
The recipe for ‘partridge à la Burgundy’ comes from Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinare.
Perdreau à la Bourguignonne
- 4 partridge, plucked, trussed and season inside and out
- 100g butter
- 1 tbsp neural oil
- 500ml red wine
- 2 tbsp game demi glace (it is fine to use three Knorr chicken stock pots to approximate this)
- 12 shallots or pearl onions, glazed (see our Little Black Book to glaze shallots and pearl onions)
- 150g button mushrooms, cooked by simmering in seasoned water and butter
- 500ml red wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set an oven to 190˚C.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying or sauté pan until the butter foams. Fry the partridges on all sides until browned, but by no means cooked through. Remove the birds to a side dish.
Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, and then whisk in the demi glace. Reduce by a third. Check seasoning. Strain the sauce into a jug.
Place the mushrooms, onions and partridges in a Dutch oven or casserole and pour over the sauce. Place in the oven to cook for about 1 hour. Use a meat probe to check that the breasts have reached 75˚C.
Serve at the table in the Dutch oven.