David Everitt-Matthias’ roasted partridge, blood purée and baby parsnips with woodruff is an autumnal winner when it comes to a glorious game dish
“For this dish we use grey-legged partridge, which I much prefer. We have someone who shoots for us, so have no problem in game season getting the birds we require.
I have teamed the partridge with poached baby wild figs, blood purée – a rich, dark flavour – and some baby parsnips cooked with woodruff and glazed in maple syrup.
Woodruff has a light taste of marzipan, and is used to flavour anything from beer and wine to sausages. It also makes a great ice cream to go with apples or pears.
We add a touch of bitterness to this dish with some local cavolo nero, but you could use another brassica like kale.”
For the partridge:
• 4 juniper berries or sloes
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 4 grey-legged partridges
• 50ml olive oil
• 25g unsalted butter
For the partridge juices:
• 25ml Madeira
• 250ml brown chicken stock
• 10ml hazelnut oil
For the blood purée:
• 30g duck fat
• 100g good-quality black pudding, finely sliced
• 175ml milk
• 75ml double cream
For the baby parsnips:
• 12 sprigs of fresh woodruff
• 250g unsalted butter
• 12 baby parsnips, peeled
• 50ml olive oi
• 30ml maple syrup
For the parsnip cream:
• 200g peeled parsnips, sliced
• 150ml milk
• 125ml double cream
• 75g unsalted butter
For the wild baby figs:
• 25g demerara sugar
• 20ml red wine vinegar
• 125ml red wine
• 125ml port
• 2cm piece cinnamon stick
• ½ star anise
• 8 dried baby wild figs
For the Cavolo nero:
• 12 small cavolo nero leaves, stalks trimmed
• 30g unsalted butter
• 30ml water
1 For the partridges, place a sloe or juniper berry and a sprig of thyme in each bird’s cavity. Season the birds.
2 Heat the oil and butter in a cast-iron or other ovenproof frying pan. When sizzling, add the partridge, placing them on one of the leg sides first.
3 Cook for 1 minute until golden, then turn on to the other leg and cook for another minute, until golden.
4 Finally, turn breast down and cook for 1 minute, until golden. Turn the birds breast up and transfer to an oven preheated to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.
5 Cook for 7 to 8 minutes for a nice pink bird. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for about 5 minutes. Remove the breasts and keep warm.
6 For the partridge juices, deglaze the frying pan with the Madeira and cook until almost all evaporated.
7 Add the chicken stock, together with the juices that escape from the birds during resting, and bring to the boil.
8 Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the hazelnut oil and season. Strain through a fine sieve and keep warm.
9 For the blood purée, heat the duck fat in a medium saucepan and, when hot, add the black pudding.
10 Cook for 2 minutes, turning often. Add the milk and cream and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
11 Pour the contents of the pan into a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve, then season. If the purée is too thick, add a little water; if too thin, reduce a little. Place in a squeezy bottle and keep warm.
12 For the baby parsnips, strip the woodruff leaves from the stalks and set aside; keep the stalks.
13 Melt the butter in a wide-based pan, add the parsnips and woodruff stalks, and poach gently until the parsnips are just cooked. Meanwhile, chop the woodruff leaves finely. Remove the parsnips from the butter and reserve.
14 Pour the butter from the pan into a bowl and reserve. Put a little oil in the pan and heat, then add the parsnips and cook until golden.
15 Add the maple syrup and turn the parsnips around to glaze. Add a little of the cooking butter and sprinkle with the chopped woodruff leaves. Turn the parsnips over in the maple syrup and woodruff. Season and keep warm until needed.
16 For the parsnip cream, combine the parsnips, milk and cream in a pan and cook on a low simmer until tender. Transfer to a blender and blend to a smooth, velvety purée, adding the butter towards the end. Season and keep warm.
17 For the wild baby figs, place the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook to a light caramel.
18 Add the red wine, port and spices (take care as it will sputter). Bring to the boil, then add the figs and slowly poach until tender. Remove the figs from the pan and keep warm while you reduce the juices to a syrup; keep this warm.
19 For the cavolo nero, blanch the cavolo nero in some salted boiling water; refresh and drain.
20 Put the butter in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Add the cavolo nero and turn around in the emulsion until hot. Season and drain.
21 To serve, make a slash of parsnip cream on each plate. Put 2 partridge breasts on top of each other and place across the purée.
22 Dress the plate with the figs and baby parsnips. Add blood purée in blobs on the plate and drizzle a little fig syrup around.
23 Lay the cavolo nero on the plate and drizzle over the partridge juices.
Recipe and image courtesy of David Everitt-Matthias, extracted from GLORIOUS GAME: Recipes from 101 chefs and food writers. Published by Face Publications, click here to purchase.