Serving game on a shoot day is essential, and easy, as Philippa Davis demonstrates with a trio of tempting mid-morning mouthfuls
I have always thought of elevenses as canapés’ slightly bigger, more boisterous cousin. They both need to look attractive, be packed full of flavour and must be easy to eat while standing up and with one hand, as the other is usually clutching a drink. Something fried and fatty, such as my crispy partridge burgers, usually hits the mark, particularly on colder days, although I also like to add a bit of spice and freshness (the kimchi) to help cut through the richness. A simple hot sausage never fails to please and can easily be jazzed up when encased in a cheesy bun and served with sweet, fruity onions. Finally, a hot soup, home-made broth or consommé should always be on offer at some point during the morning. Elevenses is the perfect opportunity to include game on the menu on a shoot day.
THE BEST ELEVENSES TO TRY THIS SEASON
GAME SAUSAGE DOGS IN CHEESE BUNS WITH RED ONION AND APPLE
These cheesy soft milk rolls make a delicious snack when stuffed with flavoursome game sausages. If you are not planning to eat them on the day they are baked, they are best kept frozen.
Makes 8 rolls
140ml whole milk, plus a little extra for glazing
1 tbsp runny honey
7g dried yeast
300g strong white bread flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
60g salted butter, melted and cooled
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
150g strong cheddar, grated
Red onion and apple
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
1 Braeburn apple, grated (skin on)
4 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
8 game sausages
A handful of watercress
- Preheat oven to 180°C fan/ gas mark 6.
- Warm 140ml of the milk to body temperature then pour into a jug, stir in the honey then the yeast. Leave to stand for five minutes so the yeast froths.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt, then stir in the milk, butter and egg. Mix to combine, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- By hand or in a mixer with a dough-hook, knead the dough until it is silky and smooth (about 10 minutes).
- Form the dough into a ball, cover and leave somewhere warm to double in size (approximately 1 hour).
- Lightly oil your work surface, scatter the cheese over the dough, then gently fold in.
- Form the dough into a flattish log.
- Cut into 8 equal parts and place cut side up on to a lined baking sheet, leaving about a 2cm gap around each one. Cover and leave to rise somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
- Brush the buns with the extra milk and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
- Leave to cool on the tray.
Red onions and apple
- In a saucepan on a medium heat, fry the sliced red onions with the thyme in the oil until softened. When soft, stir in the grated apple and balsamic vinegar and cook for another five minutes. Keep warm.
- Cook the sausages.
- Slice the buns and fill each one with a hot sausage, hot balsamic onions and a sprig of watercress. Top with mustard and serve.
CRISPY BUTTERMILK PARTRIDGE BURGERS WITH KIMCHI MAYONNAISE
Marinating the breasts in seasoned buttermilk adds flavour and keeps the meat spectacularly tender. These can be made with regular sized burger buns, or you can cut the partridge breasts in half before marinating and make 16 slider buns.
Makes 8 burgers
150g kimchi (weight when strained of excess liquid and lightly squeezed)
8 dsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 tsp ground cumin
8 partridge breasts, skinless
125g panko breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
8 burger buns
1 baby gem lettuce
- In a small bowl, mix the kimchi mayonnaise ingredients together.
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the partridge breasts and marinate for 20 minutes.
- Lift the marinated breasts out one by one, lightly shake off excess buttermilk then coat each side in the panko breadcrumbs.
- In a pan on a medium heat, fry the breasts on both sides until golden and just cooked through.
- Fill each burger bun with a few lettuce leaves, a spoonful of kimchi mayonnaise and a fried partridge breast.
- Eat straight away.
SPICED PARTRIDGE AND SHERRY BROTH
By blanching the partridges first and discarding the liquid you get a cleaner tasting broth.
Makes 8 cups
4 whole oven-ready partridges
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced in half
2 medium tomatoes, sliced in half
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, washed and roughly chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 to 3 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Hot chilli sauce, to taste
- Place the partridges in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then discard the liquid and wash the pot.
- Return the partridges to the pan and cover with 3 litres of cold water. Add the Stage 2 ingredients, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 4 hours with a lid half on.
- Strain the liquid into another pot and season with salt. Add the rosemary, thyme, sherry, Worcestershire sauce and hot chilli sauce to taste. Leave to infuse (heat off) for 20 minutes.
- Remove the herbs and bring back to a simmer (do not let it boil), then serve in cups or mugs with a bottle of dry sherry on the side for those who want more of a kick.
- The meat from the partridge can be shredded from the bones and used in stews or curries. It can also be made into coronation partridge for sandwiches or a pie.