3rd December 2012
Partridge, cress and chestnut
Partridge has a longer name than its size. They have about the size of a grouse, between a quail and a pheasant.
In French cuisine, young hen birds called perdreau are used. They are hunted but also farmed.
I bought a perdreau on the market and was told to watch out for small lead bullets.
When I prepared the bird, there were no bullets and the grains in the stomach content could also have been from feeding. I made “papilotes” of the bird.
Water cress is available abundantly at the moment but I do not like it much when raw, so I cooked it lightly and mixed it with cream and agar agar into a mousse.
I also added chestnuts which are in season.
Ingredients for two
- One partridge hen
- Slices of pancetta (or bacon)
- A lemon
- A bunch of water cress
- Some chestnuts (I used them prepared, if you use raw chestnuts you have to cross the skin and put the chestnuts in a hot oven for 30-45 minutes, then let it cool down before peeling)
- Agar agar
- Paper or tin foil
- Cut the partridge in two halves, clean the inside and leave those innards that you feel comfortable with (liver, hart).
- Take two slices of lemon.
- Take two rounds of paper or aluminium foil. Place the half partridge, skin down on the paper/foil with a slice of pancetta and a slice of lemon on the inside (topside).
- Add pepper, fold the paper papillotes and close with a piece of string.
- Put in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes on 150 degrees. (It can be shorter at a higher temperature) but this buys sufficient time for the rest.
- Wash the cress in water with vinegar. Dry the cress and cut off the stems.
- In a large pan, bring a large quantity of slightly salted water water to the boil, plunge in the cress and cook for a minute or two.
- Pass the water and cress through a sieve or colander.
- Reserve the cress and put it in a blender, add a few spoonfuls of cream and continue blending.
- Pass through sieve or colander again into a small pan.
- Heat the pan lightly until the liquid is cooking and add a few tea spoons of agar agar.
- Then take it off the heat and let it cool.
- Pour it into a shallow and flat form (I coated the form with plastic foil so that the mouse gets out easier when set).
- Allow the agar agar to set (you can put it in the refrigerator).
- Crush the chestnuts.
- When ready to serve, place a layer of cress mousse on a plate, put the partridge half on top and sprinkle with crushed chestnuts.