While most of the world gobbles down turkey like there’s no tomorrow (or indeed Boxing Day), some prefer not to eat turkey at all – given a choice of festive fowl, I’d never pick turkey. Never. It could sit plumply on the supermarket subs’ bench till kingdom come for all I care, forever in the shadow of gamey alternatives, goose, grouse or partridge in Guinness sauce.
Thankfully, Chewton Glen – a New Forest family-friendly favourite officially dubbed by this very blog as ‘Hampshire’s Most Splendiferous Spa-Enhanced Country-House Hotel‘ – has saved the day with a mouthwatering recipe from its recently revamped restaurant, Vetiver.
Of course, some of you might prefer to spend less time in the kitchen, and more time drinking sherry/unwrapping presents/recovering from Christmas Eve. In which case, the sane way to avoid manual labour completely is to check into Chewton Glen, bed down in one of its classic-luxe suites and let talented head chef Andrew Du Bourg do all the hard work for you…
Roast partridge | Truffle and butternut squash puree | Guinness sauce
For the sauce
2 banana shallots
½ head of garlic
1 can of Guinness
1 litre partridge stock
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
For the puree
1 butternut squash
2 sprigs rosemary
50ml truffle oil
Crispy deep-fried kale (a couple of handfuls, picked and washed)
Sautéed romanesco (one head)
PSST… This partners perfectly with Pinot
Chewton Glen’s chef sommelier Alan Holmes says: ‘A New Zealand Pinot Noir would work especially well with this dish – from Vetiver’s wine list I’d recommend the Pinot Noir Block 5 Felton Road, Central Otago, New Zealand 2009. It’s a robust, full-bodied wine with slightly spicy notes. Its earthy, meaty, gamey style handles not only the partridge but also the Guinness sauce really well.’
1 Start by removing the legs from the birds. You do this by making a incision between the legs and the breasts. Cut down to the bone, and then bend the leg outwards – it should pop out of the socket. Remove with a knife.
2 Remove the thigh bones from all the legs. Roll the meat into cylinders with the help of a little clingfilm. Remove the breast from the bone, wrap in clingfilm and store until ready to cook.
3 If you don’t want to substitute chicken stock, make your own partridge stock by roasting the carcasses and bones until golden in colour. Cover with water, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a couple of hours. Strain through a chinois.
4 Heat the duck or goose fat in a large saucepan; add the partridge leg meat and confit over a low heat for about two hours, or until tender.
5 For the Guinness sauce, peel and slice the shallots and the garlic. Add a little oil to a hot pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook until nice and soft and golden brown. Then add the can of Guinness and reduce it right down, until it’s nearly a syrup. Add the partridge stock, thyme and bay leaves, and simmer gently until reduced by two-thirds.
To finish the Guinness sauce, pass it through a fine sieve. Add the butter and whisk until it has all been incorporated.
6 For the puree, peel the butternut squash and dice into small pieces. Place into a roasting tray with the rosemary and a quarter of the butter. Lightly season with salt and roast at 170ºC for about 20 minutes.
Once the butternut squash is soft and tender, remove the rosemary and add the squash with all the juices into a food processor. Add the remaining butter and the truffle oil, and blitz until smooth. Check the seasoning, and pass through a fine sieve.
7 To cook the partridge breasts, heat a frying pan to smoking point. Add a tiny bit of vegetable oil to the pan. Season the breasts with a little salt, and place in the pan skin side down. Once the skin starts to go crispy and golden, add a knob of butter and pop in the oven for about 5–7 minutes at 180ºC.
8 Remove, baste with the frothing butter; lightly season with salt and pepper.
The finishing touches
9 Prepare the romanesco like you would cauliflower. Blanch in hot salted water for two minutes, and then refresh. When you come to serve, poor a little olive oil into a pan and lightly fry until it starts to take a bit of colour. Season and serve.
10 Deep-fry the curly kale at 170ºC; this should take about 20 seconds. Be careful as it will spit like crazy!