Grilled partridge with chilli, marjoram and ricotta

Grilled partridge with chilli, marjoram and ricotta

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This is a slightly surprising, but delicious way to treat partridge. Instead of pairing it in the usual manner with rich wine, nuts, mushrooms or bread, here it is spiked with the clean, vibrant flavours of marjoram, chilli and lemon juice. This works particularly well with the slightly charred succulence of meat that has been cooked over an open fire. Very fresh sheep’s milk ricotta rounds the dish off with a delicate sweetness.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 grey-legged partridges, plucked and cleaned, but not trussed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 red chillies, finely sliced
handful marjoram sprigs, plus extra leaves to finish
1 lemon, halved
5 tablespoons very good extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices pancetta
4 slices crusty, white peasant-style bread
200g very fresh sheep’s milk ricotta
lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Using poultry scissors, cut away the backbone of each partridge, to enable you to open the bird out. The easiest way to do this is to cut either side of the bone where the ribs join, then push the bird out flat with your open hand.
  2. Put the birds into a large shallow dish. Season them with salt and pepper, and scatter over the sliced chillies and marjoram. Squeeze over the lemon juice and drizzle with all but 1 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil. Turn the birds to coat once or twice, then leave to marinate for 30 minutes or so.
  3. Heat up your barbecue or preheat the grill or griddle pan. When hot, lay the partridges skin side down on the rack or griddle. Cook, turning frequently so that they brown and cook evenly all over, for about 25 minutes until the flesh is pink and tender, but not too rare. Remove the partridges to a warm plate and rest for 5 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, cook the pancetta slices and toast the bread on the barbecue or griddle. Place a slice of toast on each warm plate and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add a spoonful of ricotta and a slice of pancetta, then a scattering of marjoram. Place a partridge on top and serve at once, with lemon wedges.
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