British Game Week and all things partridge was the name of the game.

British Game Week upon us (24-30 Nov) the L&W boys donned their aprons and set off for their second visit to the Bistro on the Quay to meet up with our favourite chef Anthony Brooks.

All things partridge was the name of the game, and this was a test to the max. A delicate little bird that would need all the culinary skills acquired in their previous masterclass session, combined with a great sense of precision and timing.

Within 5 minutes of arriving in the kitchen, the boys were chopping, slicing and squashing (quite literally). On the menu was partridge breast rolled in pancetta with pearl barley and mushroom risotto. A bottle of La Vieille Julienne les Hauts Lieux 2012 was lined up to be its perfect drinking partner.

A vegetarian dish of stuffed mushrooms with butternut squash and spinach married perfectly with a rather splendid bottle of Mas de Daumas Gassac 2013 was the meat-free alternative.

Anthony was in charge of carefully deboning the partridge breast and legs, whilst the two L&W boys set to on the veg. There was a slightly hair raising moment as Will armed with a vegetable peeler rugby tackled a hefty sized butternut squash. All came good though, and soon the squash had been perfectly peeled and seasoned and ready for the oven and the shallot and mushroom dicing commenced.

Across the workbench, Ludo had also been busy and was surrounded by a mound of evenly sliced Giselle mushrooms, pearl barley and fresh Sage. With the skill and speed of a pro in the kitchen, he chopped the shallots and the garlic, and then grabbed a huge piece of parmesan cheese and grated a generous portion into a bowl.

Butternut squash safely in the oven, Will turned his attention to sautéing some hollowed out chestnut mushrooms in butter for a couple of minutes before finishing them off in the oven. The stuffing would be a duxelle of finely diced shallots and mushrooms sautéed with a handful of crushed hazelnuts finished with a dash of cream and seasoned carefully with a touch of tarragon. Ludo was already at the stove and he too was busy cooking his veg, and with a large glug of white wine the pearl barley really came to life.  He had already chopped up the partridge legs and added them with the shallots, garlic and thyme to the simmering risotto. That really made it special!

Both L&W boys frantically bobbing backwards and forwards from their prepared ingredients on the workbench to their pans on the stove, pretty soon started to produce the most wonderful mouth-watering aroma. The final piece de resistance was searing the pancetta-rolled partridge.

It was time to plate up!

Will’s delicate balancing act of layering butternut squash and Comté spinach, finished off with a drizzle of hazelnut oil and smattering of fresh herbs looked pretty impressive. Whilst Ludo carefully placed a sumptuous portion of pearl barley on the plate and topped it off with beautifully carved partridge breasts. Full-flavoured wines were the order of the day for both dishes. The La Vieille Julienne les Hauts Lieux 2012 worked exceedingly well with the game and the well-seasoned pearl barley risotto. Whilst the Mas de Daumas Gassac 2013 complimented the richness of the Comté in the stuffed mushrooms and butternut squash dish.

Yet another show-stopper ably supported by chef Anthony, who once again had let the L&W boys take over his kitchen. Thanks Anthony!

Stuffed mushrooms with butternut squash and spinach.

Ingredients: Butternut squash, Chestnut mushrooms, Spinach, Parmesan, Gruyere or Comte, Shallots, Garlic, Cream, Thyme, Nutmeg, Hazelnuts, Tarragon, Olive oil.

Peel, top and tail the butternut squash, cutting into two centimetre thick discs, place on an oven tray lined with baking parchment and drizzle with a good glug of olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper and a handful of fresh thyme – these go into the oven at about 180 degrees for 15-20 mins.
Meanwhile, wash the spinach and lightly cook for a minute or two until wilted, drain then leave to cool before chopping.

For the stuffed mushrooms – destalk 5-6 large chestnut mushrooms and hollow out. Sauté the mushrooms in a butter until browned before finishing in the oven for another 10 minutes. To make the duxelle, finely chop the stalks of the hollowed out mushrooms together with a couple more chestnut mushrooms, a shallot, and a clove of garlic then shallow fry in butter until they’ve yielded their moisture before adding a handful of chopped hazelnuts, a splash of cream, some seasoning and a couple of chopped tarragon leaves. The duxelle mix goes into the hollowed out chestnut mushrooms and can be finished off for a couple of minutes under a hot grill.

For the hazelnut oil, simply mix a couple of glugs of olive oil with some chopped thyme and finely chopped garlic. Mix the cooked spinach in a pan with several handfuls of the grated cheese, a good dose of grated nutmeg, a dash of cream, salt and pepper – once the cheese is melted we’re ready to assemble!

To serve, arrange the squash discs with alternate layers of the creamed spinach surrounding with the stuffed mushrooms and drizzled with hazelnut oil.

View Will’s video:

Partridge breast wrapped in pancetta with pearl barley and mushroom risotto.

Ingredients:Partridge, Pancetta, Sage leaves, Pearl barley, Shallots, Garlic, White wine, Stock, Parmesan, Lemon juice, Thyme, Olive oil, Mushrooms.

Bone the partridge. Chop the shallots and garlic. Wash the pearl barley. Sauté the shallots and the garlic with a few thyme leaves until soft. Add the pearl barley, fry for a few seconds and add the wine. Season and leave to simmer, stirring and adding a ladleful of chicken stock every once in a while. Wrap the partridge breast in the pancetta. Slice the mushrooms. Grate the parmesan into a bowl and put to one side. Sauté the mushrooms in butter, garlic and thyme and add to the risotto when the pearl barley is almost ready. Sear the partridge and finish the risotto off with the parmesan, a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Remove the partridge breasts from the pan, carve and plate up!

Published on 02/12/2015 / By Denise Hawes / Tags: Food, matching, wine