The days are getting colder, and it’s time to start cooking hearty, comforting food. For a seasonal alternative to chicken, why not try spatchcock partridge – a satisfying but mild game bird.

The Hickory chefs love unusual flavour combinations, and in this recipe from Head Chef Scott, the right root vegetables and a hint of lemon turn it into a perfect Autumn dish. Scott’s recipe below includes the technique for cooking it spatchcock style, which allows the bird to cook more quickly and evenly.

2 whole partridges*
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 generous pinches of dried thyme
1 lemon
1 zest of lemon
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 2cm sticks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm sticks
1 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
1 bunch of watercress, roughly chopped
4 bamboo skewers
Some tasty wholemeal bread
Maldon salt

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 6.

To spatchcock a partridge: put the partridge breast-down on the work surface and cut up both sides of the backbone with strong scissors. Discard the bone (or use for a stock), turn the bird back over and flatten it out with the palm of your hand. Wash and dry the bird, then put 2 bamboo skewers through the legs and body, crossing them over to hold the bird flat.

Rub each with about a teaspoon of rapeseed oil, thyme and lemon zest. Brown the skin side in a pan quickly, then roast for 15 minutes until the flesh feels firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and wrap in two sheets of foil. Allow to rest for a further 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and gently fry the parsnips until golden and tender – this takes 15-20 minutes. Add the walnuts and watercress; continue to fry, stirring from time to time, for a further two minutes or so, (reserving any cooking juices to add when serving). Serve with roasted veg, a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of Maldon salt, and a nice chunk of wholemeal bread.


Love trying different recipes? Visit our Recipes page to get tips and tricks from the Hickory chefs.

Spatchcock bird source. Used under Copyright retained by author.