Partridge with bacon jam, Madeira and mushrooms


First published in 2020
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Madeira gravy

Bacon jam

Red wine and garlic purée

To garnish

The day before you plan to serve the dish, start on the purée. Place the peeled garlic cloves in a pan and cover with water, then bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, drain the cloves and refresh in iced water. Repeat this process twice more, so that the cloves have been blanched a total of 3 times (this removes their bitterness and astringency)
Place the triple-blanched cloves in a bowl and pour over the port and red wine. Add the bay leaf and leave in the fridge overnight
The next day, preheat an oven to 140°C/gas mark 1 to cook the partridge legs. Place an ovenproof lidded casserole dish over a medium heat and add a dash of rapeseed oil. Sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured, then season the partridge legs and sear until coloured all over. Pour over the Madeira, cover, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2 ½ hours, or until the thigh bone is easily removed. Keep an eye on the dish and turn the legs occasionally, ensuring the liquid doesn’t dry out (add more Madeira if it does)
Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a dash of rapeseed oil. Sweat down the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and thyme until soft, then add the Madeira and turn the heat up to high. Simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated, then add half of the chicken stock. Leave to reduce by half
While the gravy reduces and the legs braise, prepare the bacon jam. Fry the bacon in a little rapeseed oil for 5 minutes, then set aside. In the same pan, add the shallots and fry in the rendered bacon fat until soft and transparent. Add the bacon back into the pan with the brown sugar and stir, cooking until it has dissolved into the fat. Pour over the brandy, coffee and vinegar and leave to simmer until the mixture becomes glossy and sticky with the consistency of jam. Set aside to reheat before serving
Once the gravy has reduced by half, add the remaining chicken stock and leave to reduce by half once more
To make the purée, transfer the garlic cloves and any remaining liquid in the bowl to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated, then transfer to a blender (discarding the bay leaf) and blitz until very smooth and glossy. Keep warm or set aside to reheat before serving
When the gravy has reduced to your desired consistency, pass it through a muslin cloth into a clean pan, taste for seasoning and keep warm
The legs should be very nearly ready by this point, so it’s time to cook the breasts. Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a generous amount of butter. Once foaming, season the crowns and cook for 3 minutes, basting continuously. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then carve the breasts off the crown and place in the Madeira gravy to gently cook through (about 5 minutes)
  • butter, for frying
Gently reheat the purée and bacon jam. Add a dash of rapeseed oil to a pan and quickly sear the baby turnips until lightly coloured. Meanwhile, dust the sliced raw mushrooms with the blitzed dried porcini
To serve, place 2 legs (removing the thigh bone if desired) and 2 breasts of partridge on each plate. Add a dollop of bacon jam alongside, then place 3 turnip halves around it. Top with slices of raw mushroom and shallot, then pipe or spoon the red wine purée around the dish. Finish with some thyme leaves and more of the Madeira gravy and serve
First published in 2020
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