Angela Hartnett's partridge with bacon and red chard recipe

To me, partridge is more flavoursome and meatier than quail. Ask the butcher how long the birds have been hung – the longer, the more gamey they will be.

Serves four

Splash of vegetable oil
100g butter
Sprig of thyme
Garlic clove, crushed
4 whole partridges, gutted and oven ready
300g red chard
100g streaky bacon, chopped
Small onion, chopped
Pinch of salt
½ tsp peppercorns, crushed

Add the vegetable oil to a large frying pan with at least two-thirds of the butter and heat on medium until it starts to foam and turn golden brown.

Add the thyme and garlic. Season the partridges with salt and pepper inside and out, then remove the breasts from the bone. Place the breasts in the pan, turning and basting for at least five minutes. When they have coloured, put them in a preheated oven at 200C/gas mark 6 for seven minutes.

Remove woody stalks from the chard and cut into small pieces. Add the remaining butter to another pan with the bacon and onion and saute for two minutes. Remove partridges from the oven, check they are done, then rest.

Add the chard and a splash of water to the pan. Saute the vegetables and bacon for three minutes before serving with the partridge breasts.

Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London.

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