Partridge with Pear and Thyme for Best of British:
We’ve spent the last 5 months visiting various blogs throughout the UK who have been championing their own local produce and cuisine. Literally from Lands-End with Choclette to John o Groats, with Janice at Farmers Girl Kitchen. During that time, you’ve all risen to the challenge with some fabulous and topical entries.
This month, because it’s the grand final and I know we haven’t had a chance to visit EVERYWHERE yet, I decided that you could choose your own part of Britain (or one with a cuisine you particularly like). My entry is for Norfolk because I grew up there and my memory is very much of fenland root vegetables, of game (there are some fabulous shoots around Sandringham) and of my mother’s own simple cookery.
The Fens are a vast expanse of drained marshland that stretches from Norfolk to Cambridgeshire and up to Lincolnshire. The peaty soil is very rich and perfect for growing crops like celery, potatoes, celeriac, turnips, swedes and sugar beet. The very flat landscape means that arable farming is made easy – fields are large and farm machinery doesn’t have to negotiate hills, woodland and winding paths. I love the open skies – I haven’t found anywhere else in the UK with such brilliant night time skyscapes, bizarre places where the peat has shrunk so that roads and canals run above the fields and the eeriness of fenland fogs.
I also love the unspoilt beaches. I was brought up in Hunstanton, a quirky seaside town that time seemed to have forgotten. There are cliffs and rockpools – and further along vast sandy beaches with dunes, creeks and waterways. And of course there is local seafood – I remember cockles and whelks, shrimps and crabs from small kiosks.
But it’s still the game I remember best. Probably because my mother used to curse as she was presented with another brace of pheasant, knowing she’d have to find a way to pluck them (I think she generally volunteered the lady who cleaned my Dad’s surgery!). And, Sunday lunch or supper was always a roast, whether it was beef, chicken, lamb, pork or pheasant.
We also always had apples and pears because we inherited the Doctor’s house from my Dad’s predecessor, complete with orchard and vegetable garden.
So here’s my perfect Best of British Sunday Supper for One.
- 1 Partridge
- 2 Rashers of Bacon
- 1 Pear Cored and Quartered
- 2 sprigs Thyme
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 100 g Celeriac Root Peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks
- 1 Small Potato Peeled and Quartered
- 1 oz Butter
- 20 ml Milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 170c
- Put the Partridge on a small roasting tray and surround with the pear quarters
- Mix the honey, oil and thyme in a small jug and season with salt and pepper
- Cover the Partridge breast with the bacon, then drizzle the honey and oil mixture over everything
- Put in the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes (depending on size), basting occasionally.
- minutes before you are ready to serve the Partridge, boil the potato and celeriac in lightly salted water till both are soft.
- Drain, then add butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mash thoroughly. For a lighter mash, cook the celeriac separately and blend with a hand mixer, before adding to the mashed potato, milk and butter.
- Once the Partridge is cooked, allow it <g class="gr_ gr_160 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear Grammar multiReplace" id="160" data-gr-id="160">to rest</g> for 5 minutes under foil, before serving with the juices poured over
A delicious seasonal recipe for autumn. Partridge with pear