Partridge, seen by many as the king of game birds, has sweet, succulent meat that is also low in cholesterol.
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1 cooking apple, such as Bramley, peeled and cored
4 young partridge, about 275g (9½ oz) each
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
450g (1lb) red cabbage, finely shredded
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
150ml (¼ pint) apple juice
100ml (3½ fl oz) ruby port
8 pickled walnuts, halved
Salt and black pepper
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:50min › Ready in:1hr5min
Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Cut half the onion and apple into 4 wedges, and tuck a wedge of each into the cavity of each bird. Dice the remaining onion and apple.
Heat the oil in a heavy, nonstick frying pan, add the birds, breast side down, and cook quickly, until browned all over. Remove to a plate. Put the red cabbage in a flameproof casserole with the diced apple and onion, bay leaf, vinegar, apple juice, port and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste, bring to the boil and stir well.
Place the birds on top, breast sides up, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover tightly. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes to crisp the skin.
Serve each partridge on a bed of cabbage, with the juices spooned over, with baked or mashed potatoes.
Use young pheasants or poussins if partridge is not available.