Game season is now officially here, so we’ve managed to persuade someone considerably better at cooking than us – chef Michael Caines – to devise a seasonal recipe for you: Roast Partridge with braised chicory, quince puree, toasted walnuts, wild mushrooms and a Gewürztraminer wine sauce. Ok, so it’s a bit involved, but trust us, it’s well worth the effort. You can do a lot of the prep earlier in the afternoon and then just finish off the meat, cook the prepared mushrooms and reheat the other elements when you’re ready to serve up.
If you’d like to know a bit more about the Michelin-starred man himself, read our interview. If you are a muppet in the kitchen or can’t really be bothered to cook this yourself, we suggest you check into Gidleigh Park hotel in Devon, where something similar is probably on the menu at its excellent restaurant.
Those of you who do actually intend to make this recipe, please do come back afterwards and boast about your own exquisite roast… Bon appetit!
Roast partridge with braised chicory, quince puree, toasted walnuts, wild mushrooms and a Gewürztraminer wine sauce
4 large chicory, any discoloured leaves removed
1 litre water
1 large onion, chopped
Pinch of chicken bouillon
Bouquet garni (Celery stalk, parsley stalks, thyme sprigs and bay leaf, bound with leek and string)
100g finely sliced lardons (smoked)
50g garlic puree
Salt and pepper
METHOD Preheat the oven to 180°c / gas mark 4. Place the onion and salt in a pan with the 50g of butter and cook until soft and transparent. Add the water, chicken bouillon, sugar and bouquet garni, then the chicory, and bring to the boil. Cover with aluminium paper and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tender and soft. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. After this, drain the chicory, slice into thin strips, and set aside. In a saucepan, cook off the lardons in the 20g of butter, add the sliced chicory (from which you have drained off any more excess water) and cook until dried out. Once the chicory is dry, add the garlic puree and season with salt and pepper.
Handful of walnuts
METHOD Simply take a handful of walnuts and place them into a saucepan with the milk and water. Bring to the boil and then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Peel them using a small knife and toast them in the oven (180ºc) with a knob of butter, for approximately 3 minutes.
4 partridge, oven-ready and trussed
200g wild mushrooms, washed
METHOD Turn up the oven to 200°/gas 6, then season the birds and roast in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a further 16 minutes. Then remove the legs and breast, keeping the carcass for your sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.
4. Make the Gewürztraminer sauce:
250g partridge carcasses
25g shallots, sliced
125g button mushrooms, sliced
500ml chicken stock
550ml veal glace
50ml non-scented oil
375ml Gewürztraminer wine
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
10 white peppercorns
Pinch of salt
METHOD Heat the oil in a roasting tray, add the partridge carcasses and then the butter, and cook until lightly coloured. Add the shallots and cook until soft and transparent. Then add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they look ‘slippery’. Next, add the Gewürztraminer wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. To this, add the chicken stock, veal glace, cream, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil – lightly skim off any scum, and simmer for 45 minutes. After this time, pass it through a colander then through a fine sieve. Reduce the mixture to the correct consistency if required, and then finally pass it through a muslin cloth. Correct the seasoning if necessary.
Juice of ½ a lemon
500g quince, peeled, core removed and chopped
Salt and pepper
METHOD Place the sugar, water, butter and lemon juice into a saucepan, add the prepared quince and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until soft. When cooked, strain off the liquid and blend the mixture to a smooth puree in a blender, then pass it through a fine sieve and adjust the texture if required by using the cooking liquid. Season and place into a piping bag.
6. Just before you’re ready to serve, assemble the final dish:
METHOD Place the partridge legs and breast, skin side down, in a frying pan with some butter and cook until golden brown, then seal the flesh side briefly before removing. Meanwhile, pan-fry the wild mushrooms in a little butter with salt and pepper, reheat the braised chicory and warm through the quince puree in a microwave for a few seconds. Place some chicory into the middle of the plate, pipe some puree onto the plate, or around the edge, and then sprinkle the mushrooms around with the toasted walnuts. Place the partridge breast on top of the chicory and then the legs to the sides and lastly, spoon over the sauce.