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Roast partridge with sage, thyme & cider

For me, partridge is every bit as good as pheasant. I always enjoy cooking it, and it seems to punch above its weight when it comes to flavour and texture. A brace carefully roasted will make a fine supper for two.


Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Place the partridges in a small roasting tray, then tuck the herbs in and around the birds. Add the two halves of the garlic bulb and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the birds, place a knob of butter on top of each, then put the roasting tray in the oven. Roast the partridges for 20–25 minutes, until the skin is golden brown.

Remove the roasting tray from the oven and remove the birds to a clean plate, positioning them upside down and leaving them to rest somewhere warm. Meanwhile, place the roasting tray directly over a medium heat. To make the sauce, add the cider and bring the contents of the tray to the boil. Add the cream and stir in the mustard. Bring the sauce back to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until nicely reduced and beginning to thicken. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the birds to the roasting tray along with any juices left on the plate.

Bring to the table in the tray, then place one bird on each plate and spoon over plenty of sagey, cidery sauce. Serve with buttery mash.

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  • 2 oven-ready partridges
  • 1 bunch of sage
  • 1 bunch of thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved around its circumference
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large knobs of butter
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) cider
  • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper