The Forest Floor – Partridge Confit

Categories: Main Course, Recipes, Starter, West
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Published on: October 8, 2013
 

The second dish from my tasting menu.  “The Forest floor” is the concept for this dish which consists of confit partridge leg, partridge pate, candied rosemary, beetroot jelly, a porcini and walnut soil and a moss like side salad.  I’ve added an additional bit of presentation by serving it on a banana leaf.  This dish turned out to be one of the favourites of the night or at least it had one of the favourite elements of the night – the partridge pate.

This is quite a fun dish to make and although there is a lot of work and preparation that goes into each element it is actually quite easy once you know how.  A Thermomix will make life much easier but it is not essential, an ordinary blender and some additional cooking will be required instead but the end result of the pate will be quite different.

Doing a confit is an easy way to cook and preserve meat, in the case of a tasting menu like this it is even more useful as you can prepare it weeks in advance and just reheat it and give it a quick fry before serving. A confit will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months, provided the meat is properly sealed by the fat i.e. it is completely covered by the fat.  So it is important to ensure that you have enough goose fat to cover the partridge.  It helps to remove the meat from the bones before doing the confit, not only because you need less fat but because you will need the bones to make the partridge stock.  If the bones have been roasted previously, you won’t be able to collect the pan juices for the stock later.  This is a key point that many people miss when making a stock.  You can of course make a chicken stock from left over roast chicken bones but the really deep, intense flavours come out when the chicken is first roasted.  If you use bones that have previously been roasted and just dump them in a stock pot to boil you won’t get the really deep flavour out of it.  The partridge stock is a key ingredient in the partridge pate and I firmly believe that it would not have been a highlight of the meal without a good stock.  I will cover stock creation in another article, for this recipe we will be making a simple brown partridge stock.

I’d like to highlight that this is very much a seasonal dish.  Partridge hunting season is only September to January (1st Feb) in the UK.  Outside of these times you could try this with pigeon or possibly guinea fowl.  I recommend red legged partridge over grey partridge as the flavour is slightly milder and it’s a bigger bird.

 

GnY_ForestFloor
Click to view full size

 

Ingredients (Serves 8):

4 Red Legged Partridge

2kg Goose Fat

“Moss” Salad leaves (Rocket, Curly Chicory, Japanese Greens, Leaf lettuce, Oakleaf)

 

Soil:

50g Dry Porcini Mushrooms

100g Walnuts

1 Shallot

1 Clove Garlic

25ml Partridge stock

 

Candied Rosemary – See recipe here.

 

Beetroot Jelly – See recipe here.

 

Partridge Stock:

4 Partridge Carcass

1 Carrot

1 Stick Celery

1 Clove Garlic

2 Shallots

2 Sprigs Thyme

1 Sprig Rosemary

Water

 

Partridge Pate:

8 Partridge Breasts

50ml Double Cream

75ml Partridge Stock

25ml Mushroom Stock

50ml Goose Fat

 

Method:

 

Partridge Confit:

1.  Preheat your oven to 150C.

2.  Rub the partridge meat with a clove of garlic and then salt the meat and leave in the fridge.

3.  Prepare two oven dishes with half the goose fat each.

4.  Once the oven is up to temperature place the goose fat dishes in to melt.

5.  When the fat has all melted take the dishes out and place the legs in one and the breasts in the other.

6.  Return the dishes to the oven for about an hour and a half.

7.  Take the partridge out and allow to cool, ensure that the meat is completely covered by the fat.

8.  Place in the fridge for at least 2 days.

9.  To serve the confit legs, preheat the oven to 180C and place the dish in the oven until the fat starts to loosen off enough to remove the legs.

10.  Give the legs a quick fry with some of the goose fat just until they start to turn crisp.

 

Partridge Stock:

1.  Drizzle a little oil over the partridge and sprinkle with salt.

2.  Roast the partridge carcass in the oven for about 2 hours at 160C.

3.  Remove the partridge from the oven and reserve all the juices.

4.  In a cast iron pot or stock pot, fry the shallots with a little bit of oil until they begin to soften.

5.  Dice carrots and celery and add to the pot, continue to fry until the carrots soften.

6.  Add the garlic, partridge and juices and fry for a couple of minutes.

7.  Add water to the pot until it just covers the partridge.  Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for about 3 hours.

8.  If the stock reduces too much you can add a little water.  Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

9.  Check the stock every 30mins or so, skim off any scum that forms on the top of the stock.

10.  Allow the stock to cool and then store in the fridge until required.

 

Porcini and Walnut Soil:

1.  Rehydrate Porcini mushrooms in hot water for 20-30mins, stirring occasionally.

2.  Drain the mushrooms and reserve the water for a stock.

3.  Dice and fry the shallot and garlic.

4.  Blitz all the dry ingredients together into a rough mix – not too fine as you don’t want a paste.

5.  Add in the hot stock, give it a good mix and keep warm.

 

Partridge Pate:

1.  Remove Partridge breasts from confit, taking some goose fat.

2.  Reheat Partridge stock in a small pan, but do not boil.

3.  Fry shallots and garlic in a small frying pan with a little bit of oil (use groundnut, grapeseed or other neutral oil).

4.  Blitz breasts, goose fat, shallot and garlic with the stock until they form a paste – TMX SP6 / 1min.

5.  Gradually add cream while blitzing.

6.  Continue to add mushroom & partridge stock until desired consistency is obtained – TMX 50C / SP3 / 3mins.

 

Plating:

1.  Trim a banana leaf to the shape of the plate.

2.  Lay down a tablespoon of the soil and flatten it slightly with the back of the spoon.

3.  Next place some of the salad leaves next to the soil.

4.  Place two sprigs of candied rosemary crossed over, opposite the salad.

5.  Cut the beetroot jelly into small cubes and place three of them around the rosemary.

6.  Using a chef’s ring, place a round of the partridge pate opposite the soil (between the salad and rosemary).

7.  Finally lay a partridge leg on top of the soil and serve.

 

GnY_ForestPlate
Click to view full size

 

Tips:

–  If the partridge pate becomes too wet, add some flour and continue to heat and mix until it thickens.

–  The rosemary is more for presentation than eating, you can’t eat the woody stalks (unless you like chewing on wood?) but the ends give a nice sweet menthol flavour.

–  You can (and should) be quite generous with the cubes of jelly, the dish is quite dry in texture and the jelly provides some much-needed moisture.



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