Partridges Catalan-Style

An elegant and absolutely delicious dinner party dish, Partridges Catalan-Style may be served with pureed potatoes and buttered carrots. young partridges, trussed, larded and livers reserved

1 oz. butter

2 tablespoons chopped cooked ham

2 tablespoons flour

10 fl. oz. – cups dry white wine bouquet garni.consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together pared rind of small orange

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

6 garlic cloves, boiled in salted water for

10 minutes and drained

2 oz. fresh breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons finely chopped cooked ham h tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 small egg, lightly beaten

First make the stuffing. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the reserved partridge livers and place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the remaining stuffing ingredients and mix well to blend.

Place the partridges on a flat surface and, with a teaspoon, gently and carefully spoon the stuffing mixture into the cavities. Close the cavities with a skewer or a trussing needle and thread.

In a large deep frying-pan, melt the butter ever moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the partridges to the pan and cook, carefully turning occasion-ally, for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are lightly and evenly browned. Using tongs or two large spoons, remove the partridges from the pan and set aside.

Add the chopped ham to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the wine, then add the bouquet garni, orange rind, tomato puree, salt and pepper. Stir well to blend.

Bring the liquid to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the liquid into a large flameproof casserole. Discard the contents of the strainer.

Add the partridges to the casserole and place it over low heat. Simmer the partridges, basting occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic. Cover the casserole and cook for a further 20 to 25 minutes or until the partridges are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the pan from the heat and remove and discard the garlic cloves. Serve at once.

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