Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Ali Bilton • Jan 03, 2020
This is a great way of using up partridge or pheasant breast. I have made it many times for weddings and people have been amazed that it is game. Many thought they were large pigs in blankets!
The secret to keeping the meat moist and tender is to soak the breast meat in milk overnight, this counters the lack of fat on the meat and gives the breasts a really succulent texture.
I add thyme and juniper to the milk and leave the meat in the fridge for at least 8 hours. You can also use this method for chicken breasts.
This recipe has a red wine sauce for the partridge to be served with. Both the sauce and the meat can be prepeared ahead of time and frozen, for up to 3 months, ready to thaw and cook.
There's a how-to on jointing game bird on the blog too, if you want to use game for the first time.
I also make my own game stock, I use the carcasses of the birds, bring to the boil with carrot, celery, onion, leek and swede. Simmer for 5-6 hours, strain and freeze if not required immediately.
4 Partridges, breasts only
Full cream milk
1 tsp juniper berries
1 small bunch thyme
16 slices pancetta
550ml/1pt game stock
550ml/1pt hearty red wine
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp port
Place the breasts in a container with a lid, cover with milk and add the juniper and a few sprigs of thyme. Put the lid on and leave in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5
Remove the partridge from the fridge, take the breasts out of the milk and place on some kitchen roll, pat with kitchen roll to dry.
Season the partridge breasts and sprinkle with thyme leaves
Wrap each breast in 2 slices of pancetta
Fry the wrapped breasts in the butter until brown and put in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove and keep warm
Boil and reduce the game stock with the remainder of the thyme leaves by 2/3. Add the wine and reduce again by 2/3.
Add the port and redcurrant jelly, strain and taste for seasoning
Serve 2 breasts per person on a bed of creamed potato and celeriac, pour over the sauce.