Partridge with Swiss chard, girolles, quince and chestnuts

  • medium
  • 2
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
Not yet rated

Geoffrey Smeddle's exquisite partridge with chestnuts recipe will light up the colder months. Partridges usually come trussed, which means that the bird is tied with twine to keep the extremities close to the body to allow for even cooking. If untrussed, ask your butcher to help out.

First published in 2015




Pan-roasted partridge



Crispy chestnuts



  • Heavy based pan
  • Pastry brush


Start by preparing the swiss chard. Remove all the green leaf from the stem and shred to a thickness of 1/2cm
Blanch in a pot of salted, boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in ice cold water. Remove from the water, squeeze out thoroughly, cover and store in the fridge until required
Preheat the oven to 190˚C/gas mark 5
For the quince, cut each one in half and remove the core. Mix half the butter, thyme and cinnamon together and place in the middle of each quince to fill the gap from the core. Press the two halves back together and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until tender. Remove and reduce the the oven temperature to 170˚C/gas mark 3.5
When ready, remove the skin from 1 quince and blend the flesh with the remaining butter and dessert wine until smooth. Allow the other quince to cool before removing the skin and cutting into 8 wedges. Set aside the wedges on a tray to reheat later
  • 20g of butter
  • 50ml of dessert wine
For the chestnuts, use a sharp knife to score the base of each nut. Place on a tray and into the oven for 30 minutes until the skin starts to blister and come away from the centre
Remove from the oven and while still warm use a small knife to peel away the skin. Cut the chestnuts into thin slithers, brush with a little melted butter and bake until crisp. Remove and store in a warm place until required. Increase the oven temperature to 200˚C/gas mark 6
Place a heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add a good dash of vegetable oil to the hot pan and leave for a moment so that it is scorching hot
  • vegetable oil
Season the partridge with salt and add to the pan, brown evenly on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the garlic, thyme and pepper to the hot pan with half the butter and baste the partridge. Then, place the partridge, breast-side down, onto a baking tray and into the oven for 4 minutes
Meanwhile, add 30g of butter to a new pan. Once foaming, add the girolles and sauté until lightly golden. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve
After the first 4 minutes, turn the partridge over and cook for a further 4 minutes. Then, remove the pan from the oven and remove the partridge from the pan. Leave to rest for 5 minutes
Place the pan back on a low heat and add the Madeira. Heat through and emulsify by stirring in the remaining butter at the last minute to finish the sauce
While the partridge is in the final stage of cooking, reheat the quince wedges and purée. Blanch the broccoli florets in salted water for 2 minutes. Strain and toss in a hot pan with a small knob of butter and the Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper
To serve, place the chard in the centre of each plate followed by 2 swipes of the warm quince purée. Carve the partridge into breasts and legs and use 1 of each per serving. Finish with the 2 wedges of quince, broccoli, girolles and crispy chestnuts. Drizzle over the Madeira sauce and serve immediately

Geoffrey Smeddle, proprietor and chef of The Peat Inn in Fife, started his career working for Herbert Berger at The Café Royal and for Christopher Galvin in London. He then sealed his reputation as one of Scotland’s top chefs by opening Terence Conran's Etain, in Glasgow.

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