Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Juniper roast partridge with parsnip mash

I've been without computer for the past five days. It has been a worrying state of affairs. I hadn't realised how wedded I was to my machine. Last night I came home planning to cook a particular recipe only to realise that the recipe in question was on the blog (rather than in my recipe file) and I had no idea of the quantities or ingredients required. The day before I wanted to look up cinema times and didn't quite know where to begin without trusty google. I'm sorry to admit it, but I really have been lost without it.

Furthermore, I've been busy in the kitchen and yet unable to share my results. Worse, I know that you have all been busy in the kitchen and I've been unable to view the results of your cooking! So apologies for silence, I'll try hard to make up for lost time.

One of my favourite things about this time of year is the abundance of game. Better still, it can often be picked up quite cheaply. Depends where you are of course and it is sadly true that many London butchers often charge a premium. Fortunately, there is a good game dealer at my local farmers' market and I picked up a very thrifty brace of partridge last Sunday. Perfect!

Roast partridge for one on a weeknight might seem something of an extravagance, but really it isn't at all. It is virtually no effort (a simple shepherd's pie would be far more time and effort-consuming) and cooks pretty quickly too. What is more, a partridge is just right for one accompanied with lots of veg and (in this case) a pile of buttery parsnip mash.

I think that I got the idea of smearing the bird with juniper-infused butter from my beloved
Nigel. I adore juniper. Probably mainly because it reminds of one of my favourite drinks (!). Anyway, I think it is brilliant with game (and cabbage, for what it is worth). If I'd had it, I would have wrapped the birdy in some nice bacon too in order to keep from drying out. As it was, I didn't. It worked out fine though - not too dry.

Roast juniper partridge with parsnip mash
Serves 1


1 oven-ready partridge
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 bay leaf
small bunch thyme
knob of butter
1/2 red onion

1-2 large parsnips
pinch cumin
pinch freshly-ground nutmeg
knob butter
splash of milk


1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Roughly chop the onion into a couple of wedges and pop into the centre of a small roasting dish. Drizzle with a little oil and pop in the oven whilst you prepare the bird.

2. Crush the juniper berries with the back of a knife (or in a pestle and mortar). Mix into the butter, along with a little salt and pepper.

3. Rub the butter all over the skin of the partridge and rub a little inside for good measure. Into the cavity, stuff some thyme and a bay leaf. Remove roasting tin from oven and place the bird on top of the onions. Roast for around 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile peel and chop the parsnips and boil until tender. Mash together with butter, a dash of milk and the spices. Plenty of salt and pepper too. It won't be as smooth as potato mash - I like it this way, but if you prefer, blitz it in a liquidiser.

5. Remove the partridge from the pan and leave to rest in a warm spot for a few minutes. Meanwhile, de-glaze the roasting tin over a high heat with some Madeira. Bubble to reduce and serve drizzled over the partridge, with the parsnip mash and some green veg.


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Golly, that looks good. I can almost smell it!

when can I come to dinner? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've been a bit off game lately, meat in general really, but this does look really good. Slathering it with butter is a good tip if you don't have bacon too.

Peter M said...

I love your bold ingredients (this case partridge) and this is a wonderful autumn dish...make me wanna go on a hunt in the English country.

Sam said...

Wow, that looks fantastic!

Margaret said...

What a wonderful recipe title. I've never eaten partridge Antonia - perhaps one day, especially after seeing this recipe.

Antonia said...

aforkful - any time! The juniper did smell rather gorgeous.

ginger - I go through phases like that with different foods. As you rightly say, butter is always a friend in these circumstances...

Peter - I love bold flavours and ingredients, Peter. My cooking is rarely subtle! This dish is pretty British through and through really.

Sam - thanks. It was a successful experiment.

Margaret - I do hope you'll give partridge a try - the game flavour is not too strong.

Katie said...

I love parsnip mash, its so comforting and autumnal.

Jeanne said...

Have never cooked with partridge OR juniper berries (unless gin counts?!) so quite intrigued by this. Looks wonderful!

Joanna said...

i made parsnip mash once and it was terrible!!! thanks for the recipe. hopefully this one works out much better than the last one!

James said...

I'm finding it hard to look at this and not rush out to the local estate and bag a partridge or two.

Do you think leaving the juniper butter for a couple of days to infuse would be a good idea?

ARLENE said...

Your bird looks succulent and the parsnip mash...ummmmmmmmm.

Antonia said...

Kate - I love almost any kind of root vegetable mash. Parsnip makes a great change from potatoes and is great with game, I find.

Jeanne - thanks. I think my penchant for juniper berries stems entirely from my love of gin!

Joanna - Hi there. Hope this recipe works out for you - sometimes I mash them with a little potato too which helps the texture somewhat.

James - I think that would be a great idea ( clearly have much more patience than me!!). If you try it, do let me know what you think.

Arlene - hi there. Thank you - it was a really good dish and I can't wait to try it again!