Papaya Magazine

01.12.14 / Recipe for Partridge with Chocolate

Partridge is probably my favourite game bird. It has a mild flavour if only hung for a short time. I’m not a fan of really gamey meat and so any birds that I am kindly given usually only hang for 2 or 3 days.
A friend recently gave me a couple of lovely birds. They were delicious in a chocolate and sweet pepper sauce.
“Dolce de Bergamo” are small thin peppers usually used fresh. They are great stuffed and fried.
This year I have had a little experiment and have dried them to use as a winter seasoning. They are proving to be quite delicious.
Try this recipe with partridge or pheasant. You could use chicken if you prefer.
You can use any dried sweet peppers.

Partridge with Chocolate and “Dolce de Bergamo” Peppers

2 fresh partridges
10m or 12 dried Dolce de Bergamo Peppers (or 2 dried sweet peppers)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
4 cm long piece of chorizo (sliced)
200ml partridge or chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
300g fresh chopped tomatoes
¼ teaspoon of black ground pepper
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 tbsp grated unsweetened chocolate

Portion the partridges to give you 4 breasts and 4 legs. You can reserve the partridge carcasses to make stock.

Cut the Dolce de Bergamo peppers in half along their length and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a mug and add just enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them to soak for 1 hour until soft.
After 1 hour or so remove the chillies from the liquid and chop them very finely or mince in a food processor.
Reserve the liquid for the sauce.

In a skillet or deep frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and fry gently until it softens (about 10 minutes).
Add the garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more until it too softens.
Add the sliced chorizo and cook for several minutes more until the onion begins to brown slightly.
Add the minced pepper and thyme. Cook whilst stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until they break up.
Add the reserved chilli soaking liquid, black pepper and the chicken stock and stir together.
Increase the heat until the sauce just begins to boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a separate frying pan. Add the partridge portions and fry until nicely browned.
Remove the partridge pieces from the frying pan. Add the partridge legs to the sauce.
Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Add the breasts and cook another 15 minutes until the partridge is tender.
Stir in the chopped chervil, ground almonds, chocolate and salt to taste.
Cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.

Serve with rice or some warm crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

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