JUMP TO RECIPE -
Game is one of the comforting things in autumn time, when nights are pulling in, you suddenly feel so chilly in the evenings that log fires need to start burning or at least heating to come on and the barbecue season is well and truly over. Game season starts of course on the Glorious Twelve but only come October can we really appreciate the rich dark meat that smells of the wind.
The trick is to cook it just right. Game birds are small so it’s easy to dry them out in the oven, no matter how many bacon slices you slap on their bellies. With large partridge and wild mallard duck a good way is to brown it, roast it whole and then remove the legs and return to the oven for a few more minutes while the rest of the bird is resting.
They come in braces but mine was quite large so we shared it. Poultry scissors handy.
- a brace of partridge, or one larger bird for two people
- two slices of streaky bacon per bird
- salt and pepper
- two ripe pears, quartered
- a little oil and white wine
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas 9. Season the partridges with salt and pepper. Wrap the bacon around them, securing with meat pins of cocktail sticks. Peel and core the pears, cut into eights and place on a roasting tray with a drop of oil and a dash of white wine. Put the tray in the hot oven while you brown the partridges. Heat up a frying pan and sear the partridges all around, making sure the legs get browned. Place on the tray on top of the pears, breast side up, and roast for 10-15 minutes.
I checked the legs with a meat probe and they were cooked through (60C), but if not quite there yet (prod with a knife if you haven’t got a thermometer to see if juices run clear), cut off the legs with poultry scissors and stick back into the oven for 3 minutes more. Let the birds rest in a warm place for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the roasted pears on the side and you’ll almost have the song…