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Partridge in a pear tree

This is an unusual dish, combining the richness of partridge with the sweet juiciness of pears in a delicious wine sauce. If partridge is not available, you can substitute grouse.

ingredients

serves 4
Butter for frying
2 - 4 partridges, according to size, jointed if large, and skinned
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
150 ml (1/4 pint) chicken stock
150 ml (1/4 pint) red wine (Burgundy-type)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 small Conference pears, peeled and quartered
Beurre manie made with 2 tbsp spoons butter, mixed with 1 tbsp spoon flour
4 tbsp fresh double cream
1 bunch of watercress to garnish

method

1. Melt a knob of butter in a large flameproof casserole. Add the partridges and brown on all sides.

2. Stir in the redcurrant jelly, stock, wine and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat.
Add the pears to the casserole dish. Cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, or until the partridges are tender when pierced with a skewer, and the pears are nicely coloured.

3. Remove the pears and partridges from the casserole and keep hot on a serving platter. Add the beurre manie in small pieces to the cooking liquid, stirring constantly, and simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Adjust the sauce for seasoning.

4. Stir in the cream and heat gently. Do not allow to boil or the cream will curdle.

5. Pour some of the sauce over the partridges and put the rest in a sauceboat. Garnish with sprigs of watercress and serve immediately.

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