Blackberries have a natural affinity with apple and all game birds, particularly partridge. This recipe will give you a delightful way to serve your partridges in a very impressive dinner party kind of way.
4 shallots, halved
4 Hand Sourced Heritage Hill partridge
A splash of olive oil and a knob of butter for frying
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
900g potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized pieces
400g kale, chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
200ml red wine
15g wholegrain mustard
30g redcurrant jelly or quince paste
300ml hot sommerlad chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 200°c. Place the shallots into the cavities of the partridge and liberally season the birds all over. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the partridge on all sides until golden brown. Place them in a roasting tin and scatter with rosemary and thyme. Roast the birds in the oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked through and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the leg.
Put the potatoes into a saucepan of salted water, bring to the boil and cook until tender. Meanwhile, place the chopped kale into a saucepan with a little boiling water and cook until soft. Strain the potatoes, remove from the heat and add the butter and milk. Mash with a potato masher and then stir through the cooked kale, spring onions and seasoning. This can be covered with foil and kept warm in a low oven until ready to serve.
When the partridge are cooked, remove them from the oven and put them on a separate board to rest, covered with foil. Place the roasting tin over medium heat on the stove and sprinkle the flour over the pan juices, using a metal whisk to mix it in, scraping the bottom of the roasting tin as you do so, for about 2 minutes. Pour the red wine over it and continue mixing. At this point, you should have a good rolling simmer so that the wine reduces and the alcohol burns off. Add the mustard and redcurrant jelly, again mixing in well for a further few minutes, and then pour in the hot chicken stock. Add the blackberries, breaking half of them up with the whisk, but leaving the others whole. Continue on a rolling simmer until the sauce has reduced by half to a gravy consistency, then season to taste.
Serve the partridge drizzled with blackberry sauce, with the colcannon on the side.
Recipe from Country Life Magazine 2013.