October 25th, 2010

Partridge, Fig and Salted Caramel Walnuts

Autumn is coming to a close and winter is starting to settle in. The central heating has to be turned on and the frost is is looming. The sloes are ready to be picked and turned into sloe gin, actually I think I shall do just that today.

All the seasons are important for us here at the British Larder Suffolk, this is our first Autumn and it will be our first winter. The game has not been in short supply and we are ever so pleased to see that the diners appreciate the game as much as we do. This partridge, fig and salt caramel walnut dish featured several times on our menu, and will do until the figs come to an end. The whole dish is a triumph as the different textures and taste compliment each other, it’s one of those dishes you wish it would never end as it’s interesting and every mouth full has a different story to tell.

The walnuts where brought in by Diana, a regular who could not bare watching the squirrels hiding the walnuts in her garden any longer. Well we are very pleased that she did as the wet walnuts are delicious and hopefully next year we will manage to get some green ones to pickle. For these salt caramel walnuts I used the fresh wet walnuts however you could use dried walnuts which works and tastes just the same.

Wild mushrooms is also plentiful and we are lucky enough to get a  good supply of trompette de la mort also known as horn of plenty or black trumpet mushrooms. I buy them from a reputable supplier, we like looking at the wonderful fungus in the woods but will never be tempted to pick them as we simply do not have enough knowledge to know what is good and what is bad. These trompette de la mort do not only look fantastic and have a great visual impact on any dish but they also taste wonderful. I like to cook them until dry and caramelised in a small amount of butter seasoned well, you can certainly taste the woodlands in every mouth full.

About Partridges

Partridge are non-migrational birds for the pheasant family, Phasianidae. In the United Kingdom there are two types of partridge available grey partridge and the red-legged partridge.
Grey partridge is a smaller bird than the red-legged partridges and it has tender and delicate meat early on in the season but as the season progresses the meat become richer and stronger.
Red-legged partridges are larger birds with a delicate flavour. As they are small birds they are perfect for a starter size serving. The partridge sausage rolls in the recipe below is another fun recipe to cook with partridges.

Partridge

  • 2 red-legged partridges
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 banana shallots, finely diced
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 figs, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare a saucepan filled with water, one sprig of thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns, bring it to the boil.

Remove the legs from the partridges; roast them in the preheated oven with olive oil and seasoning for 25 minutes. Flake the meat whilst hot. Heat the olive oil with the shallots and seasoning, cook until transparent and add the cooked flaked leg meat, cook until the shallots are tender, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Poach the partridge crowns in the boiling water for 3 minutes, leave to rest for 5 minutes and remove the breast from the bone. When ready to serve heat a frying pan with butter and caramelise the partridge breast in the foaming butter skin side down, caramelise the fig in the same pan. Serve immediate.

Lentils

  • 300g cooked puy lentils
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • 100g trompette de la mort mushrooms
  • All the cooked leg meat and shallot confit
  • 1tsp of thyme leaves

Heat a saucepan with the butter and sauté the trompette de la mort mushrooms for 2 minutes, add the leg meat, lentils and 1 tbs of the damson vinaigrette. Cook for 5 minutes, adjust the seasoning if needed and add the thyme leaves.

Salt Caramelised Walnuts

  • 200g wet or dried walnuts, husks removed
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g Malden Sea Salt
  • 1tbs unsalted butter

Heat a frying pan with the butter, nuts, sugar and salt, heat until the sugar has melted, cook until the sugar caramlises to golden brown.

Transfer the caramelised salted walnuts to a line tray, leave to cool. Break the walnuts into pieces for serving.

Damson Vinaigrette

  • 100g damson puree
  • 20ml sherry vinegar
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Blend all the ingredients until emulsified, season and set aside until needed.

To Serve

Spoon the lentils onto a warm plate, arrange the partridge breast and figs on top of the lentils, arrange the rest of the figs on the plate and drizzle the damson vinaigrette round the plate. Scatter the walnuts and garnish with cress. Serve immediately.

Serves 4


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5 Comments to “Partridge, Fig and Salted Caramel Walnuts”

  1. Hey, Great blog you have here. I found this post really interesting. Thanks

  2. Awesome submission its almost sinful. My lady especially liked it. IMO that this is one of the best submissions I have ever read.

  3. amrit row says:

    sounds absolutely delicious. ……but as the Partridge was found in a pear tree, could there be a recipe there for the first day of christmas?
    would it work……..?!

  4. Amanda says:

    Another lovely looking dish, thanks.
    I’m not sure where to begin looking for partridge here in Oz, but wouldchicken do as a substitute, so you think?
    Love the salt caramelised walnuts and will just be doing those to eat!

  5. Dave Minter. says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, this was the demonstration dish you did at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink festival. If that’s the case, for those reading this, can I say that that the taste was just stunning.

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