October 12, 2015
I find there is beautiful timing to autumn bounty. With so much seasonal game and produce coming into their prime as September arrives, it is a fascinating time of year for chefs. Autumn is about abundance and it pretty much writes my menu for me. It is also the time of year when the grill aspect of our restaurant here in Aldeburgh comes alive. Partridge, pigeon, duck and succulent beef become regulars in our kitchen, with each plate maintaining our passion for locally-sourced and ethical, sustainable food. Our game is sourced from Suffolk shoots, cattle from Suffolk fields, and our seafood from local waters. Join us this autumn and revel in beautiful autumnal flavours.
4 partridge crowns and legs, reserve the backs for sauce (any good butcher will be happy to help but a sharp knife, some patience and care should do just fine).
Small bunch of fresh thyme
2 or 3 Pears cut in half, seeded
Small bunch of thyme
Method for your Partridge:
Meat roasted on the bone always tastes better. At the Seafood & Grill we serve the partridge on the crown (we leave the breasts on the breast bone), this keeps the game bird from drying out.
Slow cook the legs with the shallots, lemon & thyme in the duck fat with a splash of water at 80° for 1.5 hours then reserve. This is a classic confit method and I have not yet found a tastier way of cooking little bird legs.
Pat the partridge crown dry with paper towel then season with sea salt and a pinch of white pepper. Heat an oven safe pan add a splash of oil and brown the partridge crown on all sides; now remember they’re not the biggest of birds so be gentle when browning on all sides.
At this point I place the confit legs in with crowns and place the pan in a medium oven for few minutes to let the partridge finish through. Take the partridge out to rest; I suggest cooking a little less, then allowing for the partridge to rest up to a perfect pink.
Method for your Pears and Roots:
Caramelize the pear in a hot pan; that’s just a fancy way of saying panfry lightly until golden and soft.
Root vegetables are so abundant in this season any selection is appropriate with this wonderful game bird; all I ask is for you to find the most fantastic root vegetables and eat them up. For this recipe, I have chosen beetroot and carrots for that added sweetness.
Place the roots in a roasting pan toss with oil and bake with garlic and thyme at 180° until tender. Try to keep the sizes similar to promote even cooking but I have to admit I prefer the contrast in textures
I place roasted root vegetables together with the pears alongside a little bit of beetroot puree and a potato dauphinoise; then mount with the crown of partridge and the slow cooked legs.