Christmas dinner for two – Roast Partridge with Cumberland Gravy

christmas dinner- fanny and brendas roast partridge wth cumberland gravy

Christmas is seen as a time to celebrate with family and friends, but what if you are actually on your own – or with one other over this time? Do you want turkey for the next seven weeks? No! This year Fanny and I will be glaring at each other over a delicious partridge and here is the gorgeous recipe.

Ingredients for Roast Partridge with Cumberland Gravy

2-4 partridges
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 lemons – one zested and juiced, the other cut in half
1 orange  - zested and juiced.
thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, finely diced

75ml/3fl oz port

450ml chicken stock

75g redcurrant jelly - one with fruit as its first (main) ingredient – and not sugar! If sugar is the first ingredient listed, do not buy that brand!

2-3 tsp English mustard
vegetable or light olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
knob of butter


1) Set the oven to 200C fan assisted

2) Slice the onions into quarters lengthways then finely across. Also simply cut the lemon in half. Arrange onions and lemon halves in roasting dish Sprinkle with a title oil, salt and pepper, 

3) Simply sit the birds on the bed of onions, give them a light coat of oil – or butter –  all over  a good sprinkle of salt and pepper

4) Roast for 25-30 minutes, ideally basting at least twice during cooking and if you notice the onions getting too dry, you can add a little wine, water or stock at this point.

5) When done, they will be golden brown all over. Let them sit, covered in tinfoil in a warm place for the protein in the meat to relax after it’s high temperature ordeal – it really does make a difference to the tenderness and in any case, it gives you time to make the gravy.

6) Heat the stock for a couple of minutes so it’s steaming but not necessarily boiling (this can be done while the birds are roasting.)

7)  Place the roasting dish with contents (the onions will have already gone translucent with some nice crispy brown edges) a on the hob and switch on to a medium heat. Squish any juice from the roast lemons into the roasting tin then discard the by-now empty lemon skins. Add about a third of the stock then immediately afterwards, the redcurrant jelly and mustard. The small amount of liquid added at this stage just make it much easier to stir in and combine the redcurrant jelly and mustard.

9) After a couple of minutes, add the minced/diced ginger, most of the lemon and orange zest and about half of the citrus juices – plus the slug of Port and the rest of the stock. Allow the gravy to simmer away for about ten minutes in order to reduce by half and meld the flavours.

10) To finish it, pour the contents of the roasting tin through a sieve into  bowl and then proceed to squash as much of the vegetable matter through the sieve as you can – a wooden spoon works quite well for this – and don’t forget to scrape what’s collecting on the underside of the sieve into the collecting bowl too. Return the filtered gravy to a clean small saucepan, taste (and adjust seasoning if necessary by adding salt/pepper but also water/wine/lemon juice/mustard if its’s too salty or or lacks bite!) and bring back to the simmer at which time, whisk in  knob of butter to give the gravy extra richness and a festively glossy sheen – Just like Fanny and Brenda!

11) You’re now ready to serve up your gorgeous little partridges (one each of course – and do not, whatever you do, attempt to carve them – everyone just has to tackle theirs on their plate!) along with roasties and any other seasonal veg such as honey and cumin roast carrots/parsnips , spiced roast cauliflower with almonds and rosemary – and obviously, brussels sprouts!

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