Roast Partridge with bread and cheese

The Ethicurean is founded on a sense of place , the idea of having a connection with the native land, its history and the community who grow food upon it. It is featured in the Good Food Guide and Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand 2103/14. They were also runner up in the Observers Best Ethical Restaurant and Runner up in the Observers Best South West Restaurant 2013

Jack Adair-Bevan is the hunter and writer who provides the game. The chefs are self-taught with well trained palates brothers Matthew and Iain Pennington. is situated in Wrington near Bristol.

The Ethicurean says ‘ We think partridges are the perfect size for the hungry cook’. It is worth remembering the rule ‘Roast the young, pot the rest’  a somewhat brutal manta but worth remembering nonetheless. Older birds are wonderful in stews and casseroles, slow cooked until the meat is tender. A young partridge still has a slightly pliable beak and claws and its breastbone will be smaller than that of an older bird. We normally hang partridge for five days or so in a cool, dry place.
The mix of flavours and textures in this recipe might appear overcomplicated but the result is tremendous. Its creation was greeted with nothing less than comic air-punching in the kitchen. The plump bird sits on bread sauce, fragrant with its gentle hint of clove. The fondant potatoes and cavolo nero provide butter and welcome acidity respectively. The hawthorn jelly is clean, sweet and tart; flecks of Ogleshield cheese marry well with the flavour of cloves and the sweetness of the hawthorn. Ogleshield cheese is made in Somerset by Jamie Montgomery, using unpasteurised milk from a small herd of Jerseys. He washes his truckles, leaving a cheese that is very like raclette, only better.
This dish is best enjoyed with a glass of our house vermouth. The botanicals in the drink greet the clove in the bread sauce like an old friend, while the caramel in the hawthorn jelly matches the initial sweetness perfectly. The addition of orange to this recipe came after tasting the vermouth with what we thought was the final version. Having a blood orange handy, Matthew layered hawthorn jelly, bread sauce, partridge, cheese and a pinch of orange zest in a spoon for each of us and we all took it in turns to swig at the vermouth. The flavour combination sparked immediately (we should confess that the negroni cocktail is a favourite here at Barley Wood).

The book this recipe is taken from is

The Ethicurean Cookbook (Ebury Press £25)

Roast Partridge with bread and cheese

Roast partridge with sour dough bread, strong cheese, hawthorn jelly and bread sauce.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Partridge
Servings 4


  • 4 partridge
  • drizzle rapeseed oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 slices of sour dough bread
  • 100 grams Ogleshield cheese or other racelette type cheese
  • hawthorn jelly for brushing
  • 1 zest blood or ordinary orange
  • sea salt and pepper

For brining

  • 1.5 litre water
  • 90 grams sea salt
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns

For bread sauce

  • 300 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 61 yellow onions
  • 2 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75 grams stale bread cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 200 grams cavolo nero or red kale roughly chopped
  • drizzle rapeseed oil cavolo nero
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar cavolo nero


  • Place all the ingredients for the brine into one pot, bring to the boil and stir to dissolve the salt. Leave to cool and chill.
    Place the partridge into the brine and make sure they are submerged.
    Leave in the fridge for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Drain the birds and discard the brine. Pat them dry and leave to one side.
  • To make the bread sauce: Put all the ingredients in a pan (except the sour dough bread) and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 10-15 minutes so the onion is soft. Remove the bay leaf.
    Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz until the onion is completely blended in. Add the bread cubes and allow to soak for a couple of minutes before blitzing until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning if required. (for very smooth sauce pass through a sieve) Keep warm
  • Heat oven to 200c/Gas mark 6
    Lightly coat the partridge in oil and season. Place a bay leaf in each cavity and place on a tray resting on a piece of sour dough. Roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly coloured they should be pink inside.
  • Brush each bird with the hawthorn jelly and return to the oven for a further 3 minutes.
    Leave the birds to rest for 1 minutes in a warm place.
  • For Cavolo nero: Heat a frying pan and add a film of oil. Add the greens and season with salt. Cook over a medium to high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching. Once the leaves begin to wilt add the cider vinegar and cook briefly until it evaporates. Remove greens from the pan and set aside.
  • To assemble: Spoon some bread sauce on each plate. Flake shavings of cheese over the top, they will melt as they land.
    Place the birds on the top, then add the cavolo nero along with dollops of hawthorn jelly.
    Scatter over the orange zest and serve with fondant potatoes.
  • Admire your dinner for no longer than it take you to pour a chilled vermouth.
Keyword Partridge