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Smoked partridge, pistachio and golden sultana roulade

With the partridge season just around the corner, José Souto rustles up a sumptuous smoked canapé dish to get proceedings off to a flying start

The partridge season is almost upon us and many of us will be shooting or hawking these fantastic birds. As someone who does not get many chances to fly or shoot grouse, for me this is the real start of the shooting season. Over the past few weeks, my new peregrine has been in training and I hope that soon she will be out on the partridge.

My new brood of greys have also been delivered and, as I write this on a warm summer’s afternoon, I can hear the young partridges calling in the older wild birds
and can see these birds flying around the pen. This is a scene that my wife and I love to watch every evening while manning our birds.

Here is a canapé dish using these great birds, so you can start your shooting season with a bang.



Prep time: 3½ hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 6 partridge breasts
  • 1 litre cold water, mixed with 100g curing salts
  • 150g diced corn-fed chicken breast
  • 150ml double cream
  • ½ AN egg white
  • Salt
  • 25g peeled pistachio nuts
  • 20g golden sultanas
  • 4 sheets of Gelatine
  • 150g serrano ham


The method

Makes 15 to 20 canapés 

  1. Put the partridge breasts in the water and cure for three hours, stirring well every hour. Once cured, remove them, pat dry and place them in the fridge, uncovered, overnight.
  2. Take the meat out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Turn on the smoker and run it for 20 minutes. Place the breasts on a rack in the smoker, on a high heat, for 20 to 25 minutes. Once cooked, allow to cool, then cut into 1cm dice.
  3. Put the chicken into a food processor and blitz to a fine paste. Add the egg white and mix until it becomes a paste. Stop the mixer and scrape down all the bits from the sides of the bowl, then give it another pulse to ensure all is well mixed. Put ice in a bowl and sit another on top, then add the chicken to the top bowl.
  4. Carefully add the cream to the chicken. Mix it in a third at a time and season with salt. Add the smoked partridge, pistachios and sultanas, and mix well. Pour the mix into a disposable piping bag.
  5. Lay out a large piece of cling film, vertically. Pipe a line of the mix across the cling film, piping it to the thickness you want the canapés to be. Roll the mix in the cling film, twisting and tying the ends to make a sausage-shaped roulade. Repeat this until you have used all the mix.
  6. Bring some water to a simmer. Drop the roulade into the water and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the roulade from the water and chill
    by placing in ice-cold water.   
  7. Put the gelatine in 50ml of cold water. Break it up so that it softens in the water. Then warm the water and gelatine mix so that it melts.
  8. Lay out a piece of cling film as long as the cooked roulade. Lay out the serrano ham in the middle of the cling film, overlapping the edges by 1cm.
  9. Carefully remove the cling film from around the cooked roulade. Brush the serrano with the gelatine mix and lay the roulade on to the edge of the ham. With the ham attached, roll the roulade so it is wrapped. Use the cling film to help lift and roll it, wrapping it tightly and tying the ends as before. Allow it to chill for at least two hours, then cut into 5mm to 8mm slices before serving.