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The 8th Day of Christmas

Sara makes

Partridge with Castellucio Lentils & Celeriac Mash


                                                                                                 Partridge can be roasted whole - the secret is to                                                                                                  

                                                                                                 cover them in foil and rest for 10 minutes before

                                                                                                 serving. What makes this recipe so delicious is

                                                                                                 the contrast between flavoursome Castelluccio

                                                                                                 lentils and smooth celeriac mash and the meaty

                                                                                                 flavour of partridge which doesn't offend those

                                                                                                 who think pheasant is too 'gamey' and those

                                                                                                 who think chicken is boring!



                                                                                                 I allow one partridge per person but small

                                                                                                 eaters may only want a half in which case split

                                                                                                 a bird with poultry scissors when plating up. If

                                                                                                 you have any leftover partridge you can make a

                                                                                                 nice sauce for pasta and some soup.


to make the celeriac mash

1 small potato per person plus 500g celeriac

100ml cream

100g salted butter


to roast the partridge

Cook the potatoes and celeriac until soft and then mash with a hand blender or potato ricer. Add the cream and butter, cream with a knife then season and keep warm to serve.4 plump partridges, plucked and oven ready

250g Castelluccio or Puy lentils

1 x 6mm thick rasher of pancetta per person

olive oil


carrots 2

celery 2 ribs

40g butter

thyme a few sprigs

100g  cavolo nero or tundra cabbage, de-stemmed


Preheat your oven to 220-240ºC/gas mark 5. Rinse the lentils in a sieve under running water. Fry the pancetta rashers over a moderate heat until the fat runs. Peel and finely chop the onions, carrots and celery. Tip the lentils, onion, carrots and celery and  2 or 3 sprigs of thyme together with 400ml of water. Bring to the boil, remove any froth that comes to the surface with a draining spoon then partially cover with a lid and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the lentils are soft enough to crush with a spoon. They should be on the soft side of al dente.

Meanwhile rub the partridges with the butter and season, roast for 15 minutes until nicely browned. Set aside in the roasting tray cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.


to steam the cavolo nero

Remove the stems and get ready before baking the partridge and cook whilst the partridge is in the oven. Steam for 5 minutes with a lid on and serve straight away when plating up.



Decoration is always important since people 'buy with their eyes' so give them a dish to remember!

To serve put a good spoon of lentils and a spoon of celeriac mash on the plate with a couple of ribbons of cavolo nero on top. Place the roasted partridge on top then decorate with a sprig of thyme and the fried pancetta with some of the meat juices from the rested partridge.


Serves 4


Pheasant in Primitivo


A very popular dish with Autumn diners at Secret Squisito - my 'anti-restaurant' at home!


Preparation 20 minutes

Cooking 2 hours 15 minutes


1 oven-ready pheasant, weight approximately 2kg

8 tbsp olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

80g finely sliced pancetta

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 stick celery, sliced

1 bottle Primitivo from Puglia

125ml single cream

a white truffle, freshly shaved to taste (optional)


Rub the pheasant all over, inside and out, with olive oil, then season it in the same way. Fry the remaining oil in a large saucepan with the cubed pancetta, onion, carrot and celery until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Lay the pheasant on top and seal it all over. Pour the wine on top, boil off the alcohol for about 2 minutes, and then lower the heat and leave to simmer slowly, uncovered, for about 2 hours.


Take the pheasant out of the sauce and joint it. Wrap it in foil and put it aside to keep warm.


Return the sauce to a pan and bring back to boiling point, then take off the heat and stir in the cream. Shave in as much truffle as you can afford and leave the sauce to stand for a moment. Quickly arrange the jointed pheasant on a warm serving platter and then pour over the sauce to smother it completely.


For vegetables see above recipe


Gluten free. Serves 4-6


Buon appetito!




If you would like to order game for Christmas please just call me on 07824 314 235


Available for collection at  

Kings Norton Christmas Market 5-9pm Thursday 20th, Moseley Farmers Market 9-2pm on Saturday 22nd December or Mac Arts Centre Food Market 10-4pm on Sunday 23rd December or home delivery anytime.

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