Roast Lemon Partridge
4 oven-ready partridges
A small bunch of thyme
1 tablespoon clear honey
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
50g softened butter
225g thin streaky rindless bacon, halved
140ml dry white wine
140ml good chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.
Wipe the birds clean with a damp cloth and remove any tiny feathers. Roughly
squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl before quartering the lemon and
stuffing a piece into each bird with some thyme. Add the honey to the juice,
then add the birds and thoroughly coat in the mixture.
Season each bird with cayenne and black pepper and arrange on a small
flame-proof roasting tray. Place a nut of butter in each cavity, before smearing
their breasts with the rest of the butter. Wrap each partridge in a small bacon
Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove the bacon and keep to
one side. Baste thoroughly and roast for 8 more minutes.
Roll the remaining halved bacon slices into small rolls and roast separately for
20 minutes until crisp. Meanwhile, transfer the birds from their roasting trays
to a serving dish - tipping each bird up as you do so, so that all their lemony
juices are poured into the tray. Keep warm.
Set the partridges' roasting tray over a medium-high heat and add the wine and
the bacon jackets. Boil vigorously, scraping any crusty bits in the pan as you
do so. Once the wine has reduced by three quarters, add the chicken stock and
boil until reduced by half. Strain and serve with the partridge and the bacon