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Roast partridge with wild mushroom ragout

Serves 4

The earthy taste of mushrooms makes them the ideal game partner. Here, the partridge legs are removed and finished off along with the mushrooms.

4 oven-ready partridges
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
60-70g butter
1tsp flour
100ml white wine
400ml chicken stock
200ml double cream
150-200g wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into even-sized pieces
2tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Rub the partridges with a little of the butter, season and place in a roasting tray. Roast for about 15 minutes, turning the birds as they are cooking so that they evenly colour, keeping them nice and pink.

Meanwhile, melt a little more of the butter in a pan and gently cook the shallots for a couple of minutes, stir in the flour then gradually whisk in the wine and chicken stock to avoid lumps forming. Simmer for about 15 minutes; remove the legs from the partridge and remove the feet. Cut the legs in half at the joint and add to the sauce with the cream and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and cook the mushrooms on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add to the sauce and continue simmering for a few minutes. The sauce should be about the consistency of double cream, if it's too thick add a little more stock; if it's too thin, continue simmering until it thickens. Season to taste.

To serve, remove the breasts from the partridge, spoon the sauce on to serving plates with a thigh and drumstick on each, and arrange the breasts on top.