I have to acknowledge having, these last few days, fed friends on the likes of Steak Tartare and Chips, dishes that are utterly inconsistent with the rustic glow I aim to emanate here. Admittedly the Tartare was made of the finest of Norfolk cows, adorned with the yellow Yolks of my mother’s hens’ eggs, Nasturtium Capers and Lacto-Fermented Cucumber, the Chips cooked over gas by starlight in the garden.
The Tartare… preceded by raw Jerusalem Artichoke and Fennel salad, preceding Pear Cake made with the beautiful sweet Josephine pears that are best stored till now, and eaten peeled, running with sweet juices… The Tartare therefore, photogenic though it was, was not photographed.
A Pot-Roast Partridge
More in line with the wholesome theme of this blog however were last week’s Pot-Roast Partridges. Envisage the artful cooking of the meat as in a roast, the vegetables meanwhile cooking slow in the bird’s juices, all in one pot, for a couple of hours, till the meat is falling, melting in the vegetables, the vegetables are tender but not falling apart… This is the simplest and quite my favourite way of cooking game. (That is besides enrobing it in Cabbage as in this Rabbit and this Partridge.)
A brace of Partridge, kindly given. Hung four days. Plucked, Gutted. Necks and hearts reserved for stock. Partridge sealed in butter, stuffed with Butter, Onion, Carrots, Bay Leaves. Swede, Celariac, Potatoes, Carrots chopped into chunks. The Partridge lain on these in a big pot. The mere addition of a knob of Butter, Salt, Black Pepper, an inch of water, some Herbs. This is brought to the boil on the hob them put into the oven, with a lid on, to cook at about 150-180C for two hours. The birds tender, the vegetables slow-cooked and rife with flavour… Eat with the juices, a teaspoonful of jelly, and that’s all.
Save the carcass for stock. Add to this vegetable peelings, the reserved necks and hearts of the birds. Simmer covered in water overnight and use the liquid for the base of winter soups.