In my opinion the poor old partridge is often overlooked. There are two main types of partridge available in Britain: the native grey partridge and the red-legged partridge. It’s not an in-your-face kind of bird.
Most famous for sitting up a pear tree, these delicate game birds can often be overlooked in favour of more rambunctious game fowl like grouse, pigeon or mallard. This should not put you off – in fact, the delicate flavour of the partridge makes it an ideal start for a game novice, with its delightfully gentle taste and succulent flesh. Normally I find the season for game is kicked of by grouse on August 12 and dominated a little by venison and wild duck, which is available in early October.
Partridge is a great meat, normally quite cheap, and can be as versatile as chicken.
A great way to get the younger ones and fussier eaters to try a different type of meat is my delicious sausage roll recipe which works with all sorts of meats, including venison or grouse.
You’ll need 6 partridge breasts; 400g pork mince; breadcrumbs from 2 slices of bread; 1 handful each of finely chopped parsley and tarragon; the zest of 2 lemons; 1½ tbsp black pepper; 1½ tbsp salt; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 tbsp fennel seeds; 2 eggs; 500g pre-rolled puff pastry.
To make pheasant and tarragon sausage rolls, first mix all the ingredients, except the pastry and one egg. Then divide the meat into two.
Lay half the pastry on a floured surface and place half the meat on one side of it. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the meat until it is well covered. Roll meat over until pastry overlaps, then cut off and pinch pastry together at seam.
Lay the rolls seam-side down on a baking sheet, brush with any remaining egg and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Place into a pre-heated oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes or until just cooked through.
Chef’s tip: Partridge should be hung for a few days and can be bought from good local butchers.