Tag Archives: game birds

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!

Roast Gressingham Duck on a bed of Cavalo Nero with Roast Potatoes

There’s nothing like a little bit of indulgence and luxury. Living with Brenda in the house is sadly neither. However whilst she hangs around the place drooling and dribbling in her usual uncouth manner, she occasionally comes up with a good idea. In this case it was having a roast duck, and indeed I liked the thought as frankly my exposure to a good duck has been rare. A lot of the modern trend is for a pink duck but actually I like the unctuous softness of a well cooked duck. The flavour is more concentrated, it’s less watery, and it’s wonderful to eat.

fanny and brenda roast gressingham duck

Firstly weigh the duck without the attached giblets to get the true weight for cooking time resolved. (It would be nice if Brenda got her weight sorted with or without her giblets and no I’m not being rude.) The cooking time is then 20 minutes for every 500g plus twenty minutes as with chicken. Get a large pan with a rack and place the duck within. You want the rack so that the fat will be able to drain off during cooking. Duck gives off a large amount of fat and you don’t want your bird swimming away do you! Brush with a little olive oil and a teaspoon of fine salt over the skin and stick it in the oven at 200°C. Meanwhile peel 1.5 kilos of potatoes and par boil for ten minutes. As you drain off keep the water for the gravy.

fanny and brenda roast gressingham duck

Take a large onion or two and remove the outer skin and split into wedges. Take two garlic heads and cut horizontally into two parts each. Once the potatoes are ready to be added to the pan, add the garlic and the onions, and a sprig or two of rosemary and place back in the oven to roast. Once your duck has done its time, take it out to rest – keeping it warm under some foil. Meanwhile place the potatoes back in the oven to finish roasting. Once they are done take them out and place in a bowl.

Take the cavalo nero cabbage and chop up reasonably finely. Steam for a few minutes.

fanny and brenda roast gressingham duck

Now take the roasting pan and place on the hob. Add some cornflour to the fat and turn on the heat. Add the potato water and stir with a whisk. I added a teaspoon of honey and a splash of dry white wine (in this case Chablis!) because I like to do that. Whisk until thickened. And now you are ready to serve and enjoy.

fanny and brenda roast gressingham duck