The casserole tastes wonderful just with a crunchy green salad
30 NOVEMBER 2010
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 partridge fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 medium onions, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
pinch of sea salt
4 thyme sprigs
1 bottle dry white wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
Pat the partridge dry, inside and out, with kitchen paper. Tie string around the legs and the wings to keep the birds looking neat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy-bottomed, cast-iron casserole and brown the birds on all sides. Remove from the pan and spoon out half of the oil.
With the pan still on the heat, add the garlic and onions and stir for several minutes – you’ll find that the onions will pick up the delicious caramelised residue on the base of the pan. Once this has happened, add the carrots and pepper. Leave the vegetables to sauté for around 10 minutes until they’re soft.
Put the partridge back into the casserole, along with the bay leaves, peppercorns, a small pinch of salt, the thyme, white wine and vinegar. Bring to the boil and remove any scum that comes to the surface.
Cover and leave the casserole to simmer for anything between 40 and 60 minutes – it depends on whether you are using farmed or wild birds. The latter will take longer to cook.
Remove the string from the birds, joint them if you wish, then return them to their juices and stir in the parsley.