Here's a simple way to serve partridge that makes it easy for your guests to eat. Serves two.
Cooking little partridges individually in parchment parcels results in beautifully tender meat with a gorgeous golden finish.
With less air around it and a little bit of fat, at a decent temperature of 150°C, the bird part steams, part roasts. Golden on the outside, tender meat within, I give you the parchment roast partridge recipe with a simple braise of pearly haricots and crisp, lemon-scented breadcrumbs.
Partridge recipe – roasted in parchment, with haricots and toasted lemon crumbs
For the roast partridge:
- 2 partridges
- 2 tbsp melted goose fat
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the haricot braise:
- 2 tbsp goose fat
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 100ml tomato passata
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 450g white haricot beans, drained
- 300ml to 400ml stock
For the toasted breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp virgin rapeseed oil
- 4 tbsp fresh sourdough or ciabatta breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Zest of one lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Take two squares of baking parchment measuring 30cm by 30cm and put a partridge in the centre of each sheet, brushing the bird all over with melted goose fat.
2. Season with salt and pepper, wrap like a parcel and put on a baking tray. Roast the partridges for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then open the parcel to release the steam and keep in a warm place.
3. To braise the haricot beans, place a casserole dish over a medium-high heat, melt the goose fat and add the carrot. Fry until the carrot turns pale and shrivels slightly — this sweetens the braise — then add the bacon and onion. Cook for another 3 minutes until the onion is soft but not coloured.
4. Add the garlic, passata and oregano, cook for 2 minutes then add the beans and enough stock to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes and season.
5. For the toasted breadcrumbs, heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan and add the breadcrumbs. Stir- fry until they begin to colour then add the parsley and lemon zest. Fry them for another minute then store in a warm place.
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Divide the braised haricot beans between two warmed plates. Joint the partridges, removing the backbones, then lay the legs and breasts on top of the beans. Scatter the crisp breadcrumbs on top and eat while hot.