The rich, strong flavours of partridge enveloped in a light, fluffy pie creates a warm and comforting meal ideal for ushering in the winter months.
1 partridge (either red or grey leg will suffice)
250g rolled puff pastry 2mm thick
100g wild mushrooms
100g smoked sausage
1 chicken breast
150 ml double cream
1 confit duck leg (optional)
1ltr chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme, 3 cloves garlic, 3 bay leaves
How to make it
Bring the chicken stock, thyme, garlic and bay leaf to the boil and allow to cool. This will infuse the stock with flavour.
Poach the partridge in the stock for approximately 10 minutes but don’t simmer or the bird will dry up and lose flavour. Remove from the stock and cool.
Season with salt and pepper then sauté the bird in a frying pan with a little olive oil until golden brow; finish with a little butter to flavour the skin, then remove from the pan and cool again.
Pictured above: The Tudor Room
Remove the legs and breast from the bone then cut the legs in half dividing drumsticks from thighs; remove the bone from the thighs. Remove all sinews from the chicken breast then blend to a purée with a pinch of salt and the two eggs. When smooth blend in the cream, remove from the machine and put into a piping bag.
Sauté the wild mushrooms and dice up the sausage. If you have some confit duck, flake it into small pieces.
To build the pie, lay a sheet of pastry down, then start with the thighs, then some duck confit on top (optional); pipe some of the chicken mousse on top, then add some wild mushrooms, some smoked sausage and more chicken mousse.
Place the breasts around the pie filling with skin facing out and pipe a little more chicken mouse on top, then stick the drumsticks into the cavity poking up.
Cut a small hole in the top layer of the pastry then lay it on top of the pie over the drumsticks and fold the pastry over the filling to make a plum-shaped pie. Cut out the base of the pie with a suitable sized cutter and brush with a light egg wash.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for approx 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut down the centre with a sharp knife and serve. I like to serve the pie with a nice creamy mash and some roasted and honey-glazed parsnips.
The remaining bones can be great for sauce – simply chop them up, roast them in a little butter in the oven until golden, pour away the excess fat from the pan and add a little white wine, honey and orange zest, then reduce by half.
Pour over the poaching stock and reduce while skimming away the fat. When it has thickened to a sauce pass through a sieve.