The Cottage Smallholder


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Guest Spot: Casserole of Partridge with Savoy Cabbage and Chorizo recipe by Jocelyn Probert

partridgeOur friends Miles and Jocelyn live in England at the moment but they also have place in France. An hour’s drive from Versailles, their charming house is within driving distance of several great restaurants, markets and shops.

They are gourmets and eat out at lot in both countries. Jocelyn has already contributed to our blog with her memorable starter Jocelyn’s Baked Garlic. With a barely perceptible arm twist she sent me this stunning recipe for game. If you do not pig out there is the option of a spicy game soup the following day. (Danny loves game and we happily share a single partridge between us for a man meal).

Jocelyn’s Casserole of partridge with Savoy cabbage and chorizo recipe (for two)

Trundling around the lanes in this part of the world we nearly always see pheasants fossicking in the hedgerows. Sadly all too many seem to have a death wish as they choose to make a dash for it in front of the wheels of the car, rather than retreating to the safety of the fields – judging by the number of bodies we pass. Little flocks of partridge, on the other hand, run like crazy across the fields and generally make their escape. Whether they are more intelligent birds than pheasants I don’t know, but that’s the impression they give.

A friend who shoots, tells me that plucking partridge is also much easier than plucking pheasant. In fact he claims it’s quicker to pluck two partridges than one pheasant, for a dinner for two. I’ve never put that claim to the test and don’t intend to do so, being more than happy to buy ready prepared partridge from our excellent local butcher.

The game season is over now, but if you still have a couple of partridge tucked away in the deep freeze here’s a way of cooking them that we really enjoy. Partridge have been cooked with cabbage and carrots in France and Italy as well as England for a couple of centuries. The birds do well from long slow cooking, with the nest of cabbage keeping the flesh beautifully moist, and it’s a sufficiently hearty meal to stretch to four people if you have unexpected visitors. Alternatively, the leftovers make a great soup for the next day (see Tips and Tricks below).

Ingredients:

  • 2 partridges
  • 150g chorizo, diced into ?cm cubes
  • 1 cabbage (preferably Savoy)
  • 2 tbls olive oil2 medium onions
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves, chopped
  • 4 junniper berries
  • hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Quarter the cabbage, removing the thick stalk, then shred. Put it in a large bowl and blanch it by pouring boiling water over it and leaving it to stand for 1 minute. Drain well, then use half to make a bed in the bottom of a large ovenproof casserole.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the partridges until golden all over. Using a slotted spoon transfer the partridges, breast side down, to the bed of cabbage. Tuck in the bay leaves with the partridges.
  3. In the same pan, gently fry the diced chorizo, onions, carrots and garlic until the vegetables begin to soften and colour, then add the juniper berries.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to the casserole, covering the partridges, and season well with pepper. Top the lot with the remaining cabbage and season well again.
  5. Add sufficient vegetable or chicken stock to come halfway up the casserole, then cover tightly with a lid and bake in the oven at 140C for 2 hours.

Tips and tricks:

  • We don’t usually manage to eat all the vegetables, but they make a great spicy soup for the next day. I fish out the remaining bits of chorizo, briefly liquidise the vegetables, then return the chorizo. Reheat gently in a pan, as you would any other soup and serve with crusty bread.

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