Partridge season runs from September 1 to February 1, so now is the perfect time to stock up your freezer with these wonderful little birds. They’re easy to cook and make a perfect autumnal meal served with simple, traditional vegetables and a glass or two of light wine.

 

There are two types of partridge in the UK. Grey partridges are pretty rare these days. The most readily available partridge is the red-legged variety. It’s larger than the grey partridge, with a distinctive black-rimmed white patch on its chin and throat. An introduced species that originated in Europe, it was probably brought over from France in the 17th Century to boost stocks.

 

There’s a difference between the flavour of the two types of partridge: grey partridges have pale, tender, flavoursome meat while red partridge meat is milder, making it ideal for people who are new to eating game. Whichever type of partridge you have, it needs to be hung to develop its flavour – a few days for an adult, but shorter for younger birds. Buy from Wild and Game and it will be ready to cook.

 

Young partridge benefits from light, quick cooking and is best served pink and juicy. Try breast fillets wrapped in bacon and make an apple and cider sauce to go with it (see recipe below) or roast it and make a gravy from the cooking juices. If you’re cooking a whole bird, be aware it doesn’t need to be cooked for as long as chicken. For older birds, braising or stewing work better, to ensure they are tender and juicy.

 

Here are two recipes from Wild and Game to help you enjoy partridge at its best.

 

Partridge with apple and cider sauce

 

Serves 2 as a main course

 

Ingredients

 

1 pack Wild and Game Partridge breast fillets

6-8 Streaky bacon rashers

1 Dessert apple, sliced

1 Small wine glass of cider

1 Vegetable or chicken stock cube or 1tsp Marigold bouillon

1 Tbsp. Honey

1 Tsp. Cornflour

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

 

Method

 

  1. Wrap each breast fillet in a streaky bacon rasher.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the partridge breasts for about 1.5 minutes each side.
  3. While they are cooking, add the apple to the pan.
  4. Remove the meat and place to one side. Continue cooking the apples until nicely browned.
  5. Pour in a glass of cider, then put the stock powder or cube in the wine glass, add a glass-full of hot water and mix to make stock. Add this to the pan too.
  6. Get the pan bubbling nicely and add the honey.
  7. Put the cornflour in a cup and add water. Mix until it’s liquid then pour into the sauce.
  8. Stir and bubble the sauce for a few minutes then pour over the partridge breasts to serve. This goes nicely with mash or sautéed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

 

Whole partridge with white wine and tarragon


Serves 2 as a main course

 

Ingredients

 

2 Wild and Game oven ready partridges

1 Medium onion

2 Cloves garlic

1 Tsp. dried tarragon

1 Large glass white wine

200ml Chicken stock

2 Tbsp. Crème fraiche

Butter or olive oil for frying

 

Method

 

  1. Fry the birds in the oil in an oven and hob-proof casserole dish until browned, then remove and place on a plate.
  2. Put the onions into the pan, fry until soft then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Put the birds back in the pot and add the wine and stock.
  4. Cover and cook at 220 degrees centigrade/gas mark 7 for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and stir in the crème fraiche until you have a creamy sauce. Season to taste and serve with seasonal vegetables.