Jose Souto shares a tasty ‘fast food’ recipe. Makes 10 portions.
Looking for gamebird leg recipes?
I’m often asked for gamebird leg recipes as people tend to only use the breasts. I also get asked for recipes for elevenses or advice on how game can be used for canapés. Pheasant legs are always a challenge, because the drumsticks have tough sinews that would give any manufacturer of high-density plastic a run for their money. I use the pheasant drumsticks for sauces and the thighs for casseroles, as they take long, slow cooking and are full of flavour.
Partridge, duck and grouse do not have the same sinews, so are great for cooking whole in stock or being confit in duck fat for pulling into strips that can be used for things like bonbons or served in small buns with an additional sauce.
Recipe for partridge legs in a barbecue sauce
Here is a recipe for partridge legs with an easy barbecue sauce. As a quick bite for elevenses after shooting, or in the evening as a canapé, they are a great way of cooking an underutilised part of the bird.
- 30 partridge legs
- 2l chicken stock
- 200g flour
- 4 eggs
- 200g panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 10g smoked paprika
- 50ml soy sauce
- 250ml tomato passata
- 30ml honey
- Remove the thigh bone from each of the partridge legs, then clean or trim the leg bones.
- Poach the legs in simmering chicken stock for 45 minutes until they are tender.
- Remove the legs from the stock and allow them to cool.
- Coat the legs by putting them in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
- For the sauce, sweat off the garlic in a little oil. Add paprika and soya sauce, then the passata and honey.
- Bring the sauce to the boil and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. After cooking, allow the sauce to cool.
- Deep fry the legs until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.
Partridges are versatile in that they can be cooked whole or broken down. The breasts are very succulent and full of flavour, but will dry out quickly if not cooked carefully. Partridges are also good to eat on the day they have been shot. They are one of only a few gamebirds that I would advocate preparing like this and I have been asked to do so a few times on shoot days.
If you want to try it, ensure the birds are from the first drive, so that you have time to pluck, draw and chill them. Partridges lend themselves well to this quick preparation and short resting time, but I would not do this with pheasants. Being a bigger bird, they need more time to rest and they really do benefit from that. A good way to cook partridge is to remove the legs and cook the breasts on the bone as a crown, so you can colour the meat in a pan and roast it in the oven. You can keep the legs for something else or cook them separately.