LOCAL RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE TWO WAYS
4 (6 if small) redleg partridges separated into breasts and legs Black peppermill, sea salt
6 sprigs thyme, 3 bay leaves
1-2 tins of goose fat, melted
2 – 3 lge beetroot, 1 medium squash 500ml chicken or game stock Softened unsalted butter
8 – 12 cooked chestnuts, halved Suffolk rapeseed oil
3 lge handfuls cavalo nero or kale 4tbsp very reduced chicken or game stock
Aspall apple balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
Day before – pre-heat oven to 150°C. Layer partridge legs with pepper, thyme, bay leaves and two tablespoons of sea salt in a small, deep ovenproof dish. Pour over goose fat and cover tightly with foil. Cook for 1½ hours until tender. Cool, refrigerate overnight. Raise the oven to 180°C. Wrap the beetroot in foil and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Cool and refrigerate.
Next day – pre-heat oven to 200°C. De-seed and quarter squash, cut into 3cm cylinders. Simmer 500ml of chicken stock in a large saucepan. Place squash in a roasting tray, brush with melted butter, season. Pour hot stock halfway up the side of the squash. Bake for 15-20 mins, remove from stock and keep warm. Peel and cut beetroot into 3cm cubes. Add, with the chestnuts, to hot stock. Remove confit legs from the set fat and crisp up in a hot pan in the oven. Season partridge breasts, pan-fry quickly in hot oil for 4-8 minutes, baste, adding a knob of butter halfway through. Tear greens to size. Place in a very hot, lidded pan with a knob of butter, splash of oil, seasoning and glug of boiling water. Toss quickly, cover, cook for a few minutes until wilted. Remove breasts from frying pan and leave to rest. Add the reduced stock to the hot pan, bring to the boil, add two tablespoons each of oil and vinegar. Simmer quickly, whisk in a knob of butter and chopped tarragon. Taste, adjust seasoning. Assemble the dish, dotting vegetables and chestnuts around hot plates, add the legs and carved breasts, drizzle with the vinaigrette.