We admit that this stuffed partridge recipe is a bit challenging, and it’s probably best suited to advanced and adventurous cooks who don’t have the pressure of a herd of Thanksgiving guests breathing down their necks. Figatelli sausage may be hard to find, but any good cured smoked French sausage will do. Myrtle can be found at most gourmet stores that have a sizable herb section.—Georges Billon
For the sausage stuffing
5 ounces cìpes mushrooms
4 ounces chanterelles mushrooms
2 ounces craterellus (black chanterelles) mushrooms
1 1/2 ounces ground pork sausage
1 1/2 ounces Corsican figatelli sausage, or other smoked, cured pork sausage
3 ounces chestnuts, chopped
For the roasted partridges
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup brandy
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup white wine
2 sprigs fresh myrtle
1 bouquet garni: a few sprigs of parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf tied together with string
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the chestnut polenta
2 cups heavy cream
1 cupchestnut flour (available in gourmet stores)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the sausage stuffing
1. Heat a thin film of olive oil in large skillet. Wash and chop the mushrooms, and sautethem until lightly browned. Add the the sausage meat, figatelli, and chestnuts and cook until no longer pink.
Prepare the roasted partridges
1. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Season the partridges with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a cast-iron casserole, add the garlic, and brown the partridges on all sides. Add the brandy, stand back and ignite the liquor. Let the flame die out and the pan remove from the heat.
2. Drain the browned partridges on a large plate, fill them with the mushroom stuffing, and wrap a slice of bacon around each one. Place the partridges in an earthenware baking dish and roast for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, reheat the casserole, deglaze with the white wine, add the sprigs of myrtle and the bouquet garni. Reduce the liquid in the casserole by one-half, then add the chicken stock. Season to taste with sal t and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce is smooth and thickened, strain and keep warm.
Prepare the chestnut polenta
1. In a medium saucepan, scald the heavy cream and then whisk it into the chestnut flour. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg. Continue stirring until thickened and smooth. Stir in the olive oil.
2. Remove the roasted partridges from the oven, arrange them on a large platter. Add the juices from the baking dish to the reserved sauce and serve separately with the chestnut polenta.
Recipe © 2003 Èditions Flammarion. All rights reserved.