Roast Partridge on Polenta with Braised Radicchio

Roast partridge with mascarpone and thyme, polenta and red wine braised radicchio.

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I wanted to catch the end of the British game season so made use of the free weekend after exams to get a few different dishes done. I settled with partridge, and the cold weather served as the perfect excuse to eat it with hearty polenta and bitter radicchio to cut through the richness.

I lifted the idea for the mascarpone and herb stuffing from a River Cafe recipe I had seen and used the cooking juices to braise the radicchio with some red wine to serve as a sauce too. Getting my hands on radicchio reminded me of the constant variation in leaf vegetables available during my time in Valencia, so I trawled through my photos from the city centre taken around this time last year for respite from the unrelenting grey skies here and have included them in this post.

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It was the first time I had bought real polenta  and cooked it rather than used it for cakes. Despite the extra effort in making it, the resulting texture and flavour subtlety makes it worth the effort and a far cry from the stodge that instant polenta produces. It needs some sharpness to cut through it, so the radicchio really helped in balancing the richness.

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Serves 4

ROAST PARTRIDGE

     4 partridges

     250g mascarpone

     2 tablespoons of both finely chopped fresh thyme and parsley

     salt & pepper

     250g thinly sliced pancetta 

     olive oil

Oven @ 220C

Ensure the partridges are clean before mixing the the herbs into the mascarpone and seasoning well. Fill each cavity with the mix. Wrap each bird in pancetta and secure with string.

Heat some olive oil in a roasting tray on the hob until hot. Brown the birds on all sides before transferring to the oven for 18 minutes. Leave to rest on a warm plate and cut off string before serving.

POLENTA

  350g polenta

     1.75 litres cold water

     salt

50g butter

Bring the water to boil in a large, thick-based saucepan. Add the salt and slowly add the polenta flour in a continuous stream whilst stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps. Once completely blended, it will start to bubble. Reduce the heat to minimum and stir frequently for around 40-45 minutes until it falls from the sides of the pan. 

Stir in the butter and any extra seasoning if needed.

BRAISED RADICCHIO

     handful of pinenuts

     handful of sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes

     roasting juices from the birds

     3 or 4 round radicchio (or treviso if avialable), quartered lengthways

     250ml red wine

     150ml chicken stock

     small handful fresh thyme and parsley leaves roughly chopped

Toast the pinenuts and set aside with the drained sultanas. Add the roasting juices to a heavy bottomed wide pan or skillet on medium-high heat. When smoking, add the radicchio quarters and turn frequently until caramelised on all sides. Add the red wine and stock, turn the quarters for a further 30 seconds before setting aside. Reduce the liquids to a desired consistency on a high heat, adding the herbs, sultanas and pinenuts for the last 10 seconds before transferring to a pouring jug.

TO SERVE

Spoon some polenta to the centre of each plate, place the partridge on top and arrange the radicchio before pouring over the wine reduction.

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9 comments

  1. Wonderful recipe – looks delicious!

  2. Christine Gibson · · Reply

    Makes me feel very hungry !

  3. This looks amazing. I’m inspired and going to try this next weekend… got to get the Butchers on speed-dial I think. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I hope, if you did manage to make it that you enjoyed it.

      1. Certainly did, the partridge was very strong in flavour so the polenta was a great accompaniment. Great recipe, thanks!

  4. Fantastic recipe and fantastic pictures!! :)

  5. This is a very well put together recipe. I really like all the concoction of flavors , especialy the braised radicchio that pairs well with sweet mascarpone. I have to give you my compliments for trying to make polenta the traditional way. Did your arm was sore after moving it constantly for sucha long time??? Bravo!!!

    1. Thanks a lot, and yes it was painful – I don’t know how those Italians do it ;)

  6. It all looks great, but I especially love the radicchio treatment!

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