Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: about 30 mins, plus resting
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.
- Heat the 25g butter with the oil in an ovenproof frying pan or sauté pan until foaming and a nutty brown colour.
- Lightly season the birds all over, then add to the pan, each bird one side down, and brown for a minute or so.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Turn each bird onto the other side, spoon over the buttery juices and roast for a further 5 minutes.
- Turn the birds breast side down, again spoon over the buttery juices and roast for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, then place the birds breast side down on a warm plate, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for as long as you cooked them for, so 13 minutes.
- When the birds have rested, transfer to a chopping board breast side up. First, remove the legs of one bird. Using a sharp knife, slice through the skin where the leg is attached to the breast, then pull the leg back on itself so that the ball and socket joint pops open and carefully pull the leg away.
- Carefully slice down one side of the breastbone, continuing to cut right along to the wing, then cut through the wing joint. Tease the ﬂesh away from the crown and gently pull the breast meat away. Repeat on the other side.
- Lay the breast meat on the legs, cover with foil and keep warm while you prepare the other bird, sauce and ﬁnal ingredients.
- 25g unsalted butter, plus another 25g for sautéeing the mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 English partridges, wishbone removed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium shallot, very ﬁnely chopped
- 250g small chanterelles, cleaned
- 50g baby spinach leaves
- 225ml glass medium-dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 300ml fairly strong game stock or chicken stock
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon ice-cold unsalted butter
- Roughly chop the carcass up and put into a small saucepan. Add the white wine and vinegar and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until almost all the wine has evaporated.
- Add the stock and sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5–6 minutes until thick and syrupy.
- Finally, add the cold butter and mix well, then strain through a ﬁne sieve and keep warm and covered.
- Heat a small frying pan or sauté pan, add the remaining 25g butter and heat until foaming and just about to change colour.
- Add the shallot and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chanterelles and toss quickly over a high heat for 2–3 minutes. Season well and spoon into two deep bowls.
- Wilt the spinach quickly in the hot mushroom pan and add to the bowls.
- To serve, place the warm partridge legs on top of the mushrooms and spinach, crossed at the top, then place the breasts on top of the legs and carefully spoon over the hot sauce.
The Yorkshire Dales is famous for producing top-quality game, and now that autumn’s here it’s time to make the most of it.
Many home cooks steer away from game because they’re unsure what to do with it – which is a shame, because game meats are sustainably farmed, tasty, and low in fat and cholesterol.
Local suppliers such as Mainsgill Farm Shop, near Richmond, carry a wide selection and are always happy to advise.
Recipes and photographs are from Game by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy, with photography by Peter Cassidy, published by Kyle Books.