Partridge is a classic alternative to turkey for Christmas with each bird one perfect-sized portion. The meat is not too gamey, and it cooks quickly in 20 minutes. You can have the birds prepared the day before. Serve either the whole bird per person or carve as demonstrated in this video.
- 2 partridge (hung 3 to 4 days)
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- 30ml unsalted butter
- 2 slices orange
- salt & pepper
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 large sprigs of thyme
- If you buy partridge in the feather, prepare in the normal way by plucking and drawing the bird. You can also order your bird ‘oven-ready’ from your butcher.
- Cut the rind off the bacon and place between 2 sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin press down on the bacon until the rasher is double the size.
- Place a little unsalted butter under the skin of the partridge breasts and lay the bacon rasher over the top so it meets at the bottom.
- Stuff inside the empty gut cavity with a slice of orange, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/2 a peeled shallot, a sprig of thyme and seasoning.
- Roast the partridge in a hot oven at 220°C for 10 minutes, then remove the bacon and baste the bird with the butter from the roasting tray. Place the partridge back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. It is better to slightly under cook partridge so it doesn’t eat too dry.
- Remove the bird from the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 6 minutes wrapped in tin foil.
- Carve the partridge by removing the legs first followed by the breasts and add any remaining meat juices to the red wine sauce.
The partridge can be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge.
Have a small pot of cold water to dip your fingers into and stop them from burning when carving the cooked meat.