Partridge tagine

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A tagine is a great way to cook all sorts of meat and fish dishes, especially game. You could try adding dried fruits such as apricots and prunes, or blanched almonds, too. You could even add vegetables such as turnips or some small onions or shallots at the beginning of cooking, if you wish.

4 partridges, quartered

1tbsp flour
4tbsp olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
30g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1tsp paprika
tsp ground mace
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground cardamom
A good pinch of saffron strands
2tsp tomato purée
1.5 litres chicken stock
30 green olives such as Picholine, whole or stoned
2 pickled lemons, quartered

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Season and lightly flour the partridge pieces. Heat half of the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the partridge for a couple of minutes on each side until they are nicely browned; then put to one side.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan with a lid, gently cook the onions in the rest of the olive oil with all the spices for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often until they are soft and beginning to colour. You may need to add a little water if they are sticking to the bottom.

Add the tomato purée and chicken stock, bring to the boil and season. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the pieces of partridge and olives. Transfer into a tagine or a covered cooking dish and finish in the oven for 1 hour, or until tender. You may need to add more stock during cooking, although a tagine shouldn't have too much liquid.

Taste the sauce and, if necessary, simmer in a clean pan to thicken slightly. Return the partridge pieces and lemons, re-heat for a few minutes and serve with steamed cous cous. Have a pot of harissa on hand to add some extra spice and heat.