Umabai’s Curried Partridges

This is an unusual and delicately spiced dish. Serve as part of an Indian meal with Naan or Chapatti.

4 partridges, oven-ready with giblets reserved juice of

1 lemon I2 teaspoons salt I2 pints water

4 cloves

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped onion, halved

1 oz. butter

2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ½ oz. single cream

4 oz. ground almonds

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed

½ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in

2 tablespoons boiling water for

10 minutes

Wash the partridges well and dry them with kitchen paper towels. In a small cup, mix the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Rub the mixture all over the partridges.

Set the birds aside while you make the stock.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the giblets, water, cloves, ginger, garlic and the halved onion to the boil over high heat. When the mixture comes to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-J- hours.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the stock through a fine wire strainer into a bowl. Discard the contents of the strainer. Rinse and dry the pan. Return the stock to the pan and place it over high heat. When the stock comes to the boil, reduce the heat to moderate and boil the stock until it reduces to 10 fluid ounces .

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the chopped onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden. Stir in the coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the partridges and, turning them frequently, fry them for 10 minutes or until they are golden all over.

Pour over the reserved stock and season with the remaining salt. Bring the liquid to the boil, cover the casserole, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover the casserole, increase the heat to moderately low and continue cooking for a further 25 minutes or until the partridges are tender and all the liquid has evaporated.

Preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150CC).

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream, almonds, cardamom and the saffron mixture. Pour this mixture over the partridges and stir gently to mix. Bring the liquid to the boil. Cover the casserole, remove it from the heat and place it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately.

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