Have you eaten roast partridge? It has a mild flavour that is similar to chicken and, as one bird is enough for one person it's an easy and elegant dish for a Valentine's day meal or special dinner for two.
Cooking partridge is really simple too. There's just a handful of ingredients and it's ready in just 30 minutes, for seriously easy entertaining.
And the best bit? You don't even have to carve!
Game birds are readily available in France and much favoured over the large chickens that we tend to eat in the UK.
They love individual birds like partridge and quail, which are actually quite easy to cook.
If you haven't tried many wild game birds then partridge is a great one to start with as it has a mild taste and the meat resembles chicken in colour and texture.
It's quite a small bird, typically less than 400g or a pound, so it's perfect for serving one person generously.
Why you will LOVE this recipe
- Lower in fat compared to a standard chicken. Partridges are not farmed birds so they have a natural and active life. This means that the meat is leaner and healthier.
- Cooking partridge is easy! It has a quick cooking time, so you can spend more time with your guests. Although partridge and chicken meat is very similar in taste it doesn't need a long cooking time or the bird will be dry and tough. It is best roasted at a high temperature for a short amount of time.
- Simple preparation in about 10 minutes. Birds are mostly sold oven ready, so the birds just need some assembly for the oven.
- Great for easy elegant entertaining. As the partridge are already in individual portions there is no last minute carving to worry about.
- The shallots are roasted with the birds to help keep them moist and create a side dish at the same time with some delicious caramelisation too.
- Step by step instructions on how to roast partridge that you can use for other birds such as quail or pigeon.
- Partridge - oven ready partridge without giblets.
- Shallots - long banana shallots for their sweetness and flavour.
- Thyme - fresh sprigs of thyme.
- Bacon - streaky bacon from the belly. As the bird has little fat then bacon acts to both flavour and protect the flesh while cooking.
- Quince jelly - as opposed to quince paste, adds a sweetness to the gravy.
- Butter - to spread over the skin to stop the meat from drying out.
- Oil - vegetable or olive oil to caramelise the shallots.
- Wine - a dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Stock - chicken stock.
- Salt - flaked sea salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Deep oven dish
- Kitchen string
- Wooden spoon
- Sharp knife
Unwrap the partridges and allow them to come to room temperature for half an hour before cooking.
Remove any excess moisture with kitchen towel.
There may be breaks in the skin, but this is normal in game birds. The skin doesn't get crispy like a chicken so it won't affect the end result.
Peel the shallots and cut them into quarters lengthways.
Place in a roasting tray and drizzle over the oil.
Use string to tie the legs together for neatness and poke a sprig of thyme in the body cavity.
Sprinkle the birds with half of the seasoning and rub the butter onto the breast and legs.
Wrap each bird with 2 slices of the bacon to cover the breast and legs and finish with the remaining salt and pepper.
💭 Top Tip
- The onions act as a trivet to raise the birds up so that the heat can circulate and they also help to keep the birds upright, as they often sit one sided due to their lighter weight.
⏲️ Baking Time
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6 and roast the partridge for 30 minutes.
💭 Top Tip
- Use a skewer to insert into the flesh between the thigh and breast. If the juices run clear then the partridge is cooked.
Place the onions and partridge on a dish and cover loosely with foil to rest.
Put the roasting pan over a medium heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to loosen the juices.
Next add the quince jelly and stir while it dissolves.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce to serve with the partridge.
💭 Top Tip
- If you prefer a thicker sauce mix a teaspoon of cornflour/cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water and stir into the sauce until it thickens.
Serve the roast partridge on a platter surrounded with the roasted shallots.
I prefer to serve the sauce separately.
🥗 Side Dishes
Serve the roast partridge with some cheesy mashed potato or try these side dishes.
- Pork Stuffing
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Individual Potatoes Gratin Dauphinnoise
- Potatoes Parisienne
- Chateau Potatoes
- Cavolo Nero Kale
- Celeriac Puree
- French Peas
- Shallots - use any onions that you have sliced lenghtways rather than quartered, so that they cook in the roasting time.
- Wine - swap with a couple of tablespoons of sherry, port or brandy, or leave the alcohol out altogether and use slightly more stock.
- Herbs - use fresh tarragon instead of thyme and chop some up finely to add to the sauce, for a different flavour.
- Juniper berries - although they are used to flavour gin they have long been used in meat dishes. Lightly crush them and place in the cavity before roasting or add the the sauce.
- Vegetables - use different vegetables such as carrots, celery or leeks with the shallots or use your favourites. Cut hard vegetables like carrots in smaller pieces so that they cook. This makes for an easy side dish.
- Quince jelly - use redcurrant jelly if you prefer.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer - cool, wrap well and freeze for up to 4 months.
- To reheat - defrost thoughly and place in the oven covered with foil for 20 minutes or until piping hot.
As partridge is a wild bird and not intensively farmed, it is normally safe to eat if it is pink.
However, if you are in any doubt, use a meat thermometer. It should register 180 C or 350F.
More game recipes to try
- Crispy Duck with Five Spice and Honey
- Guinea Fowl with Chestnuts and Bacon
- Duck Terrine with Asparagus
Roast Partridge with Shallots
- Deep oven dish
- Kitchen string
- wooden spoon
- sharp knife
- 2 partridge oven ready
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 shallots long, banana shallots
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 4 slices streaky bacon
- 1 tablespoon quince jelly
- 50 ml white wine
- 200 ml chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / 180 FAN / Gas 6.
- Allow the partridge to come to room temperature for half an hour before cooking. Remove any excess moisture with kitchen towel.
- Peel the shallots and cut them into quarters lengthways. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle over the oil.
- Use string to tie the legs together and poke a sprig of thyme in the body cavity.
- Sprinkle the birds with half of the seasoning and rub the butter onto the breast and legs.
- Wrap each bird with 2 slices of the bacon to cover the breast and legs and finish with the remaining salt and pepper.
- Roast the partridge for 30 minutes.
- Place the onions and partridge on a dish and cover loosely with foil to rest.
- Put the roasting pan over a medium heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to loosen the juices.
- Next add the quince jelly and stir while it dissolves.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce to serve with the partridge.
- Serve the roast partridge on a platter surrounded with the roasted shallots
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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