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The best time to enjoy the rich flavour of Gary Rhodes' partridge recipe is during the autumn months, when the birds are younger and their meat more tender
Method1. The sauce can be made in advance. Melt half the butter in a small saucepan. Once bubbling, add the chopped shallots or onion, garlic and sprig of thyme and fry to a light golden brown. Add the red wine vinegar and reduce quickly until almost dry. Sprinkle with the caster sugar and add the red wine. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce by two-thirds. Add the stock or consommé and reduce by just a third. If condensed consommé is being used, it won't need to be reduced. Mix together the flour and remaining butter and whisk it into the sauce. Cook for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, then strain through a fine sieve. The sauce is now ready to be reheated before serving.
2. The vegetables can all also be prepared in advance. First cut the potatoes lengthwise and trim the domed side for a neater and slightly flatter finish. This will help to provide a stable platform for the birds. Keep them in water until ready to cook. Quarter the small parsnips lengthwise, then cut out their central core if it feels too woody in texture. Halve or quarter the carrots lengthwise, cutting each at an angle into two or three sharp sticks. Treat the turnips like apples, cutting each into 8-12 wedges, providing plenty to go round. The swede and celeriac are best cut through the middle to provide two round discs from each. These can now also be cut into wedges like the turnips.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. All of the potatoes and vegetables can be roasted from raw. Some can also be pre-blanched in boiling water to begin their cooking, offering a softer finish to their centres.
Buy Gary's Cookery Year: Autumn into Winter
- 4 oven-ready partridges, preferably red-legged, barded with a thin slice of back fat or rasher of bacon
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 large knob of butter
For the sauce
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped, or 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 sprigs thyme, plus extra to cook with the vegetables
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 pinches caster sugar
- 300 ml full-bodied red wine
- 300 ml game stock, Chicken stock, or tinned game or beef consommé
- 1 tsp plain flour
- salt and pepper
For the vegetables