Breast of partridge ‘en crépinette' with salsify beignets and poached pear

  • medium
  • Serves 4
  • 4 hours

This indulgent main course recipe by Mark Dodson is a celebration of seasonal winter produce – partridge, pear and salsify. The chef uses caul fat to wrap together partridge breast and pork stuffing and shape into crépinettes, and it is the caul (crépine in French) which gives them their name. To add texture, the dish is completed with tender poached pear and girolle mushrooms.

First published in 2015






Salsify beignets

Poached pears

Partridge sauce

To serve


  • Food processor or blender
  • Deep-fryer


Begin by jointing the partridge. Remove the breasts from the carcass and set aside. Place the partridge bones in a medium saucepan and sweat in a little oil for the sauce
Add the carrot, onion, celery and tomato purée to the pan with the partridge bones and continue to cook, then use the white wine to deglaze the pan. Pour over the stocks, bring to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, skimming any impurities from the surface of the liquid
Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Place the pork or veal mince in a blender with the back fat and pulse until fully combined, then transfer to a bowl and place over iced water. Gradually beat in the double cream and season generously with salt and pepper
Lay out four 10cm squares of caul fat and spread a spoonful of stuffing in the middle of each one. Top with a partridge breast, push down gently and spoon over another layer of stuffing. Fold over the caul and shape into crépinettes, then place into the fridge to rest
Preheat a deep fat fryer to 180°C
To make the beignets, beat together the flour, cider and pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg white and salt until stiff, then fold into the flour and cider paste
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the salsify and lemon juice. Cook for 3–5 minutes until tender, then drain and pat dry. Cut the salsify into batons, dip them into flour and then into the batter. Deep-fry the salsify until puffed up and golden, leaving to drain on kitchen paper until ready to serve
To make the poached pear, bring the red wine to the boil with the sugar, ginger, cinnamon stick and cloves. Add the pears to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove the pears from the pan and set aside, then reduce the liquid to a syrupy consistency
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 5
To finish the partridge crépinettes, heat the oil in a ovenproof frying pan and quickly seal the crépinettes evenly on all sides over a high heat. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10–12 minutes
  • 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
Meanwhile, finish the sauce. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean pan and simmer gently until reduced to a sauce-like-consistency. Season to taste, then set aside and keep warm until ready to serve
Blanch the green beans in a pan of boiling salted water, then drain and refresh in cold water. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the girolles and beans and cook until tender. Add the spinach and cook for a further minute until wilted
To serve, place a portion of green beans and girolles on the serving plate, then slice the partridge crépinettes in half and place on top of the vegetables. Brush the pear with the reduced poaching syrup, carve into slices and fan across the plate. Spoon over the sauce and finish with the salsify beignets

Mark Dodson speaks the language of comfort food with Shakespearean fluency, turning perfectly formed elements into down-to-earth (but heavenly) compositions.

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