This is the appetizer I prepared for Christmas dinner. You could also serve it as a main course if you use a whole partridge per person. Partridge is similar to pheasant, but smaller and the meat is more juicy (pheasant can be quite dry). I prepared the breast fillet and legs separately, and used the remaining carcasses to make partridge jus. The partridge was served with deep fried salsify and a parsley root puree. Parsley root looks similar to parsnips, which you could use as a substitute. Everything was cooked sous-vide. For the vegetables this helps to keep all of the flavor, and for the partridge this ensures tender and juicy meat. The trick of preparing this dish is in making sure that all four components are ready at the same time. I would recommend to read through the whole recipe before starting. For clarity I have described the steps for each component together, but in reality I was doing everything in parallel (along with other dishes for the Christmas dinner).
For 4 servings as an appetizer or 2 as a main course
2 partridges (called “red foot partridge” (roodpootpatrijs) in Dutch because they have red feet)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
For the jus
35 grams (1/4 cup) chopped carrot
35 grams (1/4 cup) chopped celery
35 grams (1/4 cup) chopped onion
1 bay leaf
For the deep fried salsify
1 salsify (I used the remainder for another recipe)
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil for deep frying
For the parsley root puree
500 grams (1.1 lbs) parsley roots
125 ml (1/2 cup) light cream
salt and freshly ground white pepper
With a small sharp knife, cut the breast fillets and legs off the partridges.
Check for any lead bullets or feathers that have been shot into the meat, and remove them.
Season the breast fillets and legs with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Vacuum seal the breasts and legs separately.
Cook the legs sous-vide for 8 hours at 60C/140F. Cook the breasts sous-vide for 2 hours at 55C/131F. If you have one sous-vide device, you could first cook the legs, then lower the temperature and add the breasts. You can leave the legs in, as they won’t overcook from the additional 2 hours at the lower temperature. If not serving right away, chill the partridge in (ice) cold water and then refrigerate.
To make the jus, preheat the oven to 190C/375F and put the carcasses in an oven proof dish.
Roast the carcasses for half an hour at 190C/375F.
Put the roasted carcasses in a stock pot or pressure cooker with 1/2 a litre (2 cups) of water, a baf leaf, and chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Bring to pressure and pressure cook for 2 hours, or bring to a boil and simmer gently for 4 hours.
Sieve the stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Simmer until reduced to about 80 ml (1/3 cup). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the salsify, wash and peel the salsify and cut into 10 cm (4 inch) lengths. You can find more details about this procedure in this post. Make sure to wear gloves to prevent staining your hands.
Season the salsify with salt, vacuum seal, and cook sous-vide for 1 hour at 88C/190F.
When the salsify have been cooked sous-vide, set up an assembly line. Pat them dry with paper towels, then dust them completely with flour. Dip them in beaten egg, and finally cover them with breadcrumbs.
The salsify can be breaded in advance, but deep fry them just before serving. Allow the breading to dry on all sides by turning the salsify at least once.
Deep fry the breaded salsify in vegetable oil at 180C/350F…
…until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
To make the parsley root puree, peel the parsley roots, and cut them into rounds. Vacuum seal the rounds, and cook them sous-vide (together with the salsify) for 1 hour at 88C/190F.
Put the cooked parsley root (together with any juices from the bag) in a blender with 120 ml of cream.
Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
To finish the dish, reheat the partridge if necessary for half an hour at 55C/131F.
Reheat the parsley root puree in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring regularly as otherwise the bottom will burn.
Pour the juices into a bowl and cook them in the microwave until the proteins coagulate, about 30 seconds.
Strain the juices through a sieve into the saucepan with the reduced partridge jus. Bring the jus to a boil, stirring, and reduce a little if needed, then turn off the heat.
Deep fry the salsify while you brown the partridge. To do this, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the partridge legs and breasts over high heat, no more than 30 seconds per side to prevent overcooking.
Plate the partridge with the salsify and parsley root puree on preheated plates. Season the salsify with salt. Drizzle with the partridge jus, and serve at once.
Although simple, homemade fresh pasta with duck is elegant enough for a festive dinner. The pasta is dressed with the duck cooking juices and tender morsels of duck meat.