Seasonal Recipe of the Week – Partridge and Jerusalem artichoke gratin, by Sam Moody

13 January 2012
Seasonal Recipe of the Week – Partridge and Jerusalem artichoke gratin, by Sam Moody

(Serves 4)

4 partridges
100g duck/goose fat
100g butter
4 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
Salt and black pepper

For the sauce 250g partridge carcasses
50g shallots, sliced
125g button mushrooms, sliced
1 litre chicken stock
250ml veal glace
50ml cream
50ml sunflower or similar oil
25g butter
325ml Gewürztraminer wine
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
5 white peppercorns
Pinch of salt

For the Jerusalem artichoke gratin 15-20 good sized Jerusalem artichokes
500ml double cream
50ml water
2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
Salt and pepper

Carefully remove the legs from the four partridges, leaving as much of the skin on the crowns as you can. Press the legs with salt, garlic, cracked black pepper and thyme for eight hours.

Wash off and confit sous-vide for three hours at 85°C with 100g of goose fat. Cool in iced water, take out of the pouches, remove the thigh bones and roast the legs in foaming butter until the skin is golden and crispy.

Remove the giblets from the carcasses. Keep the livers and freeze for later use in parfait, etc; discard the rest. Using kitchen scissors, cut out the backbones and keep for sauce.

Cut the winglets at the joints, then remove the flesh to expose a clean wingbone. For each bird, lift the skin to expose the wishbone at the neck end. Discard the crops. Scrape down the inside of the wishbones with a sharp knife and pull them out with your fingers. Chill the crowns and burn off any feathers with a blowtorch.

Season well and place a sprig of thyme, half a clove of garlic and a knob of butter in the cavity. Cover with silicone paper to stop any sharp bones piercing the cook bags, then sous vide. Cook at 58°C for one hour, or until the core temperature reaches 55°C, then cool rapidly in heavily iced water. Reheat at 55°C for 20minutes, remove from the bag, discard the thyme and garlic, and dry the partridges on absorbent paper. Sear on the stove in foaming butter until golden brown. Take the breast from the bone and season the flesh with a little sea salt.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a roasting tray, add the carcasses and then the butter and lightly colour. Add the shallots and allow them to sweat without changing colour, then add the sliced mushrooms and sweat until they appear slippery. Add the Gewürztraminer and reduce by half. Transfer to a saucepan.

Now add the chicken stock, veal glace, cream, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, lightly skim off any scum and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, pass through a colander and then a chinois. Reduce to the desired consistency, pass through a muslin cloth and adjust the seasoning.

To make the gratin, first give the artichokes a good scrub in cold running water - there is no need to peel them. Thinly slice all of the artichokes, peel and thinly slice the garlic and shallot, and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place the artichokes, shallots, garlic, cream and water into a wide-based saucepan, and bring to a simmer, then turn down and cook for 3-5 minutes - the artichokes should still be a little firm. Strain, put the cream back on the stove and reduce by a third. In your chosen gratin dish add a little of the cream, then, overlapping each slice, add the artichokes. Once you have a complete layer add a little more cream and repeat - do not add too much cream as it will boil over. Ensure you keep enough perfect slices of artichoke for the final layer. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan and grill until golden brown.
Sam Moody, head chef, Bath Priory

Recommended wine

A reserve Rioja would be a superb match for this dish, while a richer, fruitier Pinot Noir from the New World should also work very well with the richness of the sauce. Either way, you need a wine with a good structure and earthy notes. You could also consider something spicy from the Rhône or a good white wine might be an option, such as an Alsace Pinot Gris, with enough weight to balance the richness of the partridge.
Simone Sylvestre, 2009 Acorn Scholar and sales manager at Laytons Wine Merchants

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