Curry is a real favourite, and in this example I have matched partridge with lentils. They break down and thicken the sauce – provided they have been well soaked. The layers of flavour are also really important here. This treatment will also work for pheasant, duck and goose.
Preparation: 20 mins, plus soaking
Cooking: about 45 mins
100g dried yellow lentils
4 young red-legged partridges
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
125g dry-cure streaky bacon
10g good-quality chicken stock cube, crumbled
200 ml lager
salt and ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar
250g ripe tomatoes, chopped
10 curry leaves
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh red chilli
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon black onion (nigella or kalonji) seeds
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
a pinch of ground asafoetida
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons double cream
- Soak the lentils in cold water overnight, then drain.
- Remove the legs and breasts from each partridge. Chop o! the feet and discard. Bone out the thighs and reserve the meat. Leave the drumsticks with the bone in.
- Cut up both sets of meat into 3 – 4cm chunks, but keep them separated – this is because the thighs need to cook for a longer period of time.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan, add all the spices for the spice mix and cook
- for a minute or two, but be careful not to burn them.
- Add the onions, garlic and bacon, cut into !cm pieces, and cook briefly until the onions are slightly softened.
- Add the partridge thigh meat and drumsticks only and stir to coat in the onion and spice mixture.
- Add the stock cube, lager, salt and pepper, sultanas, sugar, tomatoes and curry leaves. Bring to the boil and add the lentils, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drop in the partridge breast meat and stir through, then cook for a further 10 minutes or until the breast is just cooked – do not overcook the breast or it will dry out! By now the sauce should be thick and full of flavour and colour.
- Remove the pan from the stove and leave to cool slightly.
- Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the coriander, mint and cream, then serve with plain boiled rice, natural thick yogurt and chapatis.
Taken from Game by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy
Published by Kyle Books
Photography by Peter Cassidy
Here are two more delicious game recipes from Phil Vickery’s latest book: