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Partridge with pears

Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes.
Oven temperature: 200 °C, 400 °F, gas 6.
Calories: 344 per portion

ingredients

serves 10
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves 10 cloves
300 ml (1/2 pint) dry white wine
300 ml (1/2 pint) water
10 partridges
salt
1 lemon, quartered
10 firm pears, peeled

method

1. Put the herbs and cloves in a saucepan with the wine and water, bring to the boil, cover and remove from the heat while you prepare the birds.

2. Rub each bird inside and out with salt and a cut lemon. Arrange them in two earthenware oven-to-table dishes, then arrange the pears around the birds.

3. Bring the wine mixture to the boil again quickly and pour over the birds and pears. Put in the oven. Cook for 45-50 minutes if both dishes fit on the centre shelf. If not, put the dishes on different shelves for 20 minutes, then swap them for the next 20 minutes.

4. Change them over again for a further 15 minutes, then take the top dish out and keep it warm while you give the other dish a final 20 minutes in the centre of the oven. During cooking, check that the liquids do not dry up, topping up with more water if necessary. Serve one pear and a little of the cooking juice with each partridge.

When choosing a partridge, look for yellow legs and sharp-pointed long wing feathers. Once the feathers are rounded, the bird is old and past its prime.

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