Honey & Black Pepper Partridge with roasted squash
Partridge deserves a regular spot on every household’s meal plan. Delicate and tender, quick and easy to cook, full-flavoured but not too ‘gamey’ – there’s nothing not to love.
Partridge is also a healthier option than most farmed meats. Like most wild meats, it’s lower in saturated fat as a result of the bird’s happy and active life.
In the UK, the two main types of partridge are the red-legged partridge (also known as the French partridge) and the grey partridge (or English partridge). The red-legged partridge is the larger and more common of the two, available throughout the season from September to February. The native grey partridge, which has darker meat with a more intense flavour, is less regularly available but a treat when it is. To be kept up-to-date with the availability of grey partridge, enter your email address on our grey partridge product page.
Whether you choose oven-ready whole birds, boned birds or breast fillets, partridge is surprisingly quick and easy to cook. Don’t be tempted to cook your partridges any longer or they may become dry.
An additional benefit is that each partridge provides an ideally sized portion. There’s no guesswork in planning quantities: one per person is perfect.
If you’re cooking partridge breast fillets, meanwhile, they recommend two for a starter and three for a main course.
Here is a delicious roast partridge recipe for you to try.
Honey & Black Pepper Partridge
4 oven-ready partridge
250ml dry cider
2 tbsp clear honey
200ml chicken stock
1 butternut squash , peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
few thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
Cut the backbone out of one of the partridges using a strong pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears. Turn the bird over, then use your bodyweight and press down on the middle of the breast with the heel of your hand, until the partridge flattens out. Repeat.
Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan. Season the birds with salt and pepper, then brown them quickly – 2 at a time – in the pan. Lift out, and set aside.
Mix the cider with the honey, reserve one-third of the mix, thand en tip the rest into the pan to deglaze. Stir in the stock, then reduce the liquid down for 5 mins or until you have a syrupy sauce. Season to taste.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Pop the squash into a mixing bowl, toss with most of the thyme, seasoning, a little of the reserved cider mix and 1 tbsp olive oil. Tip onto a non-stick baking tray, then roast for 30 mins.
Now toss the partridges in what’s left of the cider mix. Grind lots of black pepper over and scatter with a good sprinkling of salt. Nestle the partridges amongst the squash, breast-side up. Sprinkle with a little more thyme. Roast for 15 mins, then remove the birds and let them rest. Turn off the oven and keep the squash warm. Cut the birds into quarters and serve on top of a pile of squash. Drizzle around a little of the sauce and scatter with a little thyme, to serve.