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Roast Partridge with Bread and Cheese

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 April 2014

Roast partridge with bread and cheese from The Ethicurean

Roast partridge with bread and cheese from The Ethicurean

Archant

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 partridges

a drizzle of rapeseed oil

4 bay leaves

4 slices of sourdough bread

100g Ogleshield Cheese, or other raclette-style cheese of the highest order, finely shaved

hawthorn jelly for brushing

zest of 1 blood orange (or ordinary orange)

Fondant pink fir potatoes to serve

sea salt and black pepper

for the brining solution:

1.5 litres water

90g sea salt

2 tbsp juniper berries

4 cloves

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

For the bread sauce:

300ml milk

2 tbsp double cream

60g yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 good pinches of ground cloves

1 bay leaf

½ tsp English mustard

½ tsp salt

75g stale bread, cut into 2.5cm cubes

For the cavolo nero:

200g cavolo nero (or red kale), roughly chopped

a drizzle of rapeseed oil

1 tbsp cider vinegar

Method

Put all the ingredients for the brine in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Leave to cool and then chill. Place the partridges in the chilled brining solution, making sure they are completely submerged, and leave them in the fridge for 1¼ hours.

Drain the birds and discard the brine. Pat them dry on kitchen paper and set aside. (While we are on the subject of chilling, the vermouth ought to be in the fridge by now.)

For the bread sauce

Put all the ingredients except the bread in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, until the onion is completely soft. Remove the bay leaf, transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until the onion is fully incorporated into the milk. Add the bread and allow the bread to soak for a couple of minutes before blitzing until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. For a very smooth bread sauce, pass it through a fine sieve, gently pressing with the back of a small ladle. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Lightly coat the partridges in oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place a bay leaf in the cavity of each bird and put them on a baking tray, resting each one on a slice of the bread. Roast in the oven for 12–15 minutes, until lightly coloured – they should still be pink inside. Brush a light glaze of hawthorn jelly over the birds and return them to the oven for 3 minutes. Leave the birds to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.

For the cavolo nero

Heat a frying pan and add a film of oil. Add the greens and season with fine sea salt. Cook over a medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, until the leaves start to wilt. Add the cider vinegar and cook briefly until evaporated. Remove the greens from the pan and set aside.

To assemble the dish, spoon some bread sauce on to each serving plate. Flake over shavings of the Ogleshield; they will melt as they land on the sauce. Place the birds on top, then add the cavolo nero, along with dollops of hawthorn jelly. Scatter over the orange zest and serve with the fondant potatoes. Admire your dinner for no longer than it takes to pour the vermouth tableside.

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