As the season presses on, the leg meat of partridges can become tough. Confit partridge legs with celeriac purée, fried chestnuts and sage is the solution
Serving, presenting and eating a whole roast gamebird has its splendour, but as the season presses on partridge leg meat can become tough. Confit is the perfect solution as slow cooking in fat makes the meat tender and intensify in flavour. Try Philippa Davis’ recipe for confit partridge legs with celeriac purée, fried chestnuts and sage. Watch out for your napkins though. It’s hard to resist picking up the bones to taste every last morsel.
For more inspiration on how to use your partridge this season, read the 10 best partridge recipes. The Field’s recipes will give you enough inspiration to cook these gamebirds with aplomb.
CONFIT PARTRIDGE LEGS WITH CELERIAC PUREE, FRIED CHESTNUTS AND SAGE
As it’s quite a process you can do this in bigger batches as it keeps for up to three months in the fridge. The fat can be reused a couple of times for more confit.
Serves 4 as a starter
- 8 partridge legs
- 1 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 8 peppercorns
- 10 juniper berries
- 8 bay leaves
- 2 cloves nutmeg, grated
- 8 cloves garlic
- 400g melted goose or duck fat
For the celeriac purée
- 400g celeriac, peeled and cut into equal-sized chunks
- 1 1⁄2 pints milk or water
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp double cream
For the fried chestnuts and sage
- 12 sage leaves
- 12 chestnuts, peeled and cooked
- 1 clove nutmeg
Preheat oven to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark 1⁄4.
In a bowl, mix the legs with the salt and rosemary and toss well. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours then remove and pat dry, discarding any liquid.
Mix the legs with the juniper, peppercorns, bay, garlic and nutmeg and place in an ovenproof dish, then pour over the fat. Cover with baking paper and tightly top with foil. Bake in the oven for about 2 1⁄2 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
Once cooked and cooled a little, remove legs from the fat and place into a suitable storage container (something with a lid works best). Strain the fat and separate any juices; these can be added to soups or sauces. Top the legs with the strained fat making sure it covers the meat. Leave to cool. The confit can be kept in the fridge for up to three months.
TO FINISH AND SERVE
To finish and serve the confit partridge legs with celeriac purée, fried chestnuts and sage: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Lay the desired number of legs flat on a roasting tray, allowing a little of the fat to cling on. Roast for about 15 minutes or until golden and heated through.
In a saucepan, cover the celeriac in water or milk seasoned with a little salt and the sprig of thyme; once soft, drain, remove the thyme and mash well adding the butter and cream. Check for seasoning.
In a small frying pan heat a few tablespoons of the fat used in the confit. When hot, fry the sage leaves in batches until crispy then drain on paper. Fry the chestnuts in the same fat for a couple of minutes and drain on paper.
To serve the confit partridge legs with celeriac purée, fried chestnuts and sage, put a spoonful of celeriac purée on a warmed plate, top with two legs, a scattering of chestnuts and a few sage leaves, grate over a little nutmeg.