Roast partridge with pears and morcilla
Allow 1 partridge per person, ideally not skinned
Other ingredients (to serve 6)
6-8 juniper berries crushed
150g unsalted butter softened
fresh sage leaves
A pack of morcilla (I use the small round ones from Brindisa) – you can use english black pudding, but morcilla is much softer and has a unique almost lemony flavour
3 conference pears – you want them to be firm
salt and pepper
Good strong freshly made beef stock – excellent recipes to make your own here
Set the oven to 220 C
Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mix with the softened butter and season with salt and pepper. Rub the partridges with the butter inside and out and place sage leaf inside each bird. (NOTE if your partridge as been skinned by the butcher then lay a single piece of very thin parma ham over each bird to stop the meat drying out). Lay the birds out in a roasting tin with space in between each one
Halve the pears from top to bottom and then cut each half into three, lengthwise and core them. Lay in a single layer on a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Halve the morcilla balls – or slice into rounds if using a larger sausage. Set aside
Place the partridges in the hot oven for a 15 minute ‘sizzle’ before turning down the heat to 180 C. At this point place the pears in the oven. Cook for a further 25 minutes. Check the partridges are done and then set aside on a clean board to rest in a warm place. Check on the pears too, if they are beginning to caramelize then take out and set aside, but they may need a little longer.
Set the roasting pan over a flame and de-glaze with a little brandy, scraping all the sticky tasty bits in. Then add about 300ml of the beef stock and reduce. Whilst this is cooking heat a little olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and cook the morcilla – it may crumble a bit but don’t worry. When the sauce is dark and glossy whisk in a cube of butter.
To serve, place a whole partridge on each plate with three slices of roast pear and a scoop of fried morcilla. Sieve the gravy, check for seasoning and spoon a little over each bird.
You can serve this with a little mash and some greens too if you like.