Partridge, fig and salt caramelised walnuts, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

30 September 2010
Partridge, fig and salt caramelised walnuts, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

Madelene Bonvini-Hamel's recipe for partridge, fig and salt caramelised walnuts makes the most of ingredients that are at their best in October.

(Serves four)

For the partridge • 2 red-legged partridges
• 1tbs unsalted butter
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• 3 banana shallots, finely diced
• 50ml olive oil
• 1tsp coriander seeds
• 5 black peppercorns
• 1 sprig of thyme
• 2 figs, cut into wedges

For the lentils • 300g cooked puy lentils
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• 1tbs unsalted butter
• 100g trompette de la mort mushrooms
• All the cooked leg meat and shallot confit
• 1tsp of thyme leaves

For the salt caramelised walnuts • 200g wet walnuts, husks removed
• 50g caster sugar
• 25g Maldon sea salt
• 1tbs unsalted butter

For the damson vinaigrette • 100g damson purée
• 20ml sherry vinegar
• 100ml rapeseed oil
• 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
• Pinch of sugar
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Partridge Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare a saucepan filled with water, one sprig of thyme, coriander seeds and peppercorns, and bring it to the boil.

Remove the legs from the partridges; roast them in the preheated oven with olive oil and seasoning for 25 minutes. Flake the meat while hot.

Heat the olive oil with the shallots and seasoning, cook until transparent and add the cooked flaked leg meat. Cook until the shallots are tender, then taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Poach the partridge crowns in the boiling water for 3 minutes, leave to rest for 5 minutes and remove the breast from the bone.

When ready to serve, heat a frying pan with butter and caramelise the partridge breast in the foaming butter skin side down, caramelise the fig in the same pan. Serve immediately.

Lentils Heat a saucepan with the butter and sauté the trompette de la mort mushrooms for 2 minutes, add the leg meat, lentils and 1tbs of the damson vinaigrette. Cook for 5 minutes, adjust the seasoning if needed and add the thyme leaves.

Salt caramelised walnuts Heat a frying pan with the butter, nuts, sugar and salt, heat until the sugar has melted, cook until the sugar caramelises to golden brown.

Transfer the caramelised salted walnuts to a line tray, and leave to cool. Break the walnuts into pieces for serving.

Damson vinaigrette Blend all the ingredients until emulsified, season and set aside until needed.

To serve Spoon the lentils onto a warm plate, arrange the partridge breast and figs on top of the lentils, arrange the rest of the figs on the plate and drizzle the damson vinaigrette round the plate. Scatter the walnuts and garnish with cress. Serve immediately.

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