Roast stuffed partridge

Serves 8
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Indy Lifestyle Online

For me, a partridge is the ultimate Christmas treat. It's not too gamey, it comes in a perfect-sized individual portion – and it cooks easily in 15 minutes while you are eating your starters.

You can have these ready-stuffed in the fridge the day before and ready to go so there's none of that waiting for the big fat turkey to come out of the oven.

8 oven-ready partridge, preferably with their livers
Butter for basting
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing

About 100g of butter, softened
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
6 sage leaves, chopped
8 dried apricots, soaked in water overnight then roughly chopped
2-3tbsp chopped parsley
100-120g fresh white breadcrumbs

For the sauce

A glass of good white wine
Pre-made gravy (see previous recipe)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Remove the partridge from the fridge about an hour before cooking.

Gently cook the onion, thyme and sage in the butter for 2-3 minutes, stirring every so often, until soft. Mix with the breadcrumbs, apricots and parsley. Remove the livers and hearts from the partridge if they have them, chop roughly and add to the stuffing mixture.

Season and stuff into the cavity of the partridge. Season the birds, then heat an oven-proof pan on the stove with a little butter and lightly brown the birds on the breasts and legs and roast for 15 minutes, basting every so often.

Remove the birds from the roasting pan and keep warm. Place the pan on the stove top on a medium flame, add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to remove any cooking juices and residue from the base. Boil for a minute or so then add your pre-made gravy. Simmer for a few minutes, season to taste and serve in a warmed sauce boat or serve poured over the bird.

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