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 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
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.