Roast partridge, fondant potato, spinach custard, parsnip purée and gem lettuce

The Recipes / Game

Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire

2 small partridge
20g unsalted butter
3 sprigs thyme

Jus gras
Partridge bones
¼ carrot, peeled & diced
2 shallots, peeled & diced
1 clove garlic, peeled & chopped ½ bunch thyme
8 white peppercorns
150ml white wine
100ml vermouth
200ml chicken stock

Spinach custard
300g baby spinach
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
50ml double cream
Nutmeg

Fondant potatoes
4 medium maris piper potatoes
80g butter
3 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
50ml chicken stock

Roasted lettuce
1 baby gem lettuce
50g unsalted butter
3 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic

Parsnip purée
250g parsnips
1 small clove garlic
200ml cream
1 sprig thyme

www.cowleymanor.com

Serves 2

Cut the legs and wings from the partridge, keeping the crown intact. Pat the crown dry and remove the wishbone. Season the crown with salt and pepper.

For the jus gras, chop the partridge wings and legs into small pieces and add to a frying pan preheated with a little oil over high heat. Fry off, stirring occasionally, until the bones are caramelised but not burnt. Add the carrot, shallot and garlic to the pan with a few sprigs of the thyme and peppercorns and continue to fry off until the vegetables have also caramelised. Deglaze the pan with the wine and vermouth and bring to the boil to reduce, scraping the pan to pick up any sediment. Add two more sprigs of thyme and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and continue to reduce, then strain through a fine sieve. Discard the bones and vegetables. Strain again through a fine sieve lined with muslin into a clean saucepan and add some fresh thyme leaves. Continue to reduce over medium heat until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning.

For the spinach custard, blend the spinach, 100ml of water and a pinch of salt to a smooth purée, scraping down the sides of the jug. Turn the blender to low and add the eggs, yolk and cream, blending until combined. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Gently pass the custard through a fine sieve into a clean pouring jug. Grease 4 ramekins with olive oil and stand on kitchen paper in a deep tray. Pour the custard mix into the ramekins to 2/3 full. Fill the tray with boiling water to halfway up the moulds. Cover the tray with foil and seal the edges. Cook at 120˚C until set, about 35 minutes.

For the fondant potatoes melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat with a few sprigs of thyme and the garlic. Slice the potatoes lengthways to 2cm thick. Trim into neat ovals, then add to the pan and turn the heat to low; the butter should be gently foaming. Swirl the butter to ensure the potatoes cook evenly without burning. Once slightly browned, flip the potatoes, adding a little water and chicken stock to prevent burning, and continue to cook until evenly browned.

Peel off the outer layers of the lettuce, trim off the stalk, and halve lengthwise. Heat the butter and aromatics in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook the lettuce cut side down until slightly browned, then flip over and continue to cook on the other side. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside in the pan.

Cook the purée ingredients together with a pinch of salt until soft. Blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a small copper pan. Season well with salt and pepper, stir in a teaspoon of butter, and stir gently over a low heat; once warm remove from the heat with cling film over the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Fry the partridge crown, breast side down, over a medium heat until golden. Turn and sprinkle with the thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 180˚C until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Baste with the pan juices and rest, carefully carving off the breasts just before serving. Serve with chantenay carrots.