November bites

Peter Walters, Keele University’s Executive Chef, preps for the festive season with a perfect partridge platter

For this month, in the spirit of Bonfire Night, have a sparkler of a main course with a nice bit of a game bird. That should brighten a more than dull, dark November until the Christmas lights go on…

Partridge stuffed with ginger, fennel and coriander

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp turmeric  
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped 
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 16 green grapes, peeled and chopped in half
  • 4 partridges
  • 1 egg
  • 75 ml whipping cream

Saffron Rice

  • 30ml boiled water
  •  ½ tsp saffron
  •  240g basmati rice


● Fry the mustard seeds in the olive oil and butter until they start to pop, then add the turmeric, ginger, coriander, fennel, chilli, garlic and shallots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the shallots are soft. Remove from heat and add the grapes. 

● Leave the stuffing to cool. Whilst the stuffing cools bone-out the partridges, removing the carcass and leaving the breasts intact on the skin. Remove the legs and take the meat off the bones and mince or purée in a food processor. Bind with egg white and a little cream and season with salt and pepper. Spread this mixture between the breasts. Next, top with the cooled stuffing and roll up the whole bird wrapping in cling film.

● Poach in a pan of water for about 15 minutes before removing and resting for 10 minutes. Make a stock by roasting and boiling up the bones with roughly chopped carrot, onion, celery and leek. Cook for at least 30 minutes then strain and thicken with red wine mixed with cornflour. Make sure you taste and season well.

● To make the saffron rice, pour the water onto the saffron in a small bowl and leave to infuse. Cook the rice as instructed and when ready pour over the saffron and gently mix through.

● Heat a frying pan with oil and sear the cooked partridge all over to get a good golden colour all round. Carve the partridge into 1cm thick slices. Place on a generous helping of saffron rice and drench in the sauce. Serve with some winter greens and purée of carrot and swede flavoured with honey. 

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