Quince with Partridges

Quince with Partridges is an attractive dinner party dish which may be served with sauteed potatoes and buttered carrots.

The sauce has a slightly tart flavour so, if you wish to counteract this, add a little more sugar.

4 young partridges, halved

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 oz. butter

4 slices streaky bacon, rinds removed and coarsely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 quinces, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 fl. oz. brandy

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons sugar

5 fl. oz. double cream

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chervil

Sprinkle the partridges, inside and out, with half the salt and pepper.

In a flameproof casserole, melt 2 ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the partridge halves, bacon, shallots and half of the quince slices to the casserole. Cook, stirring and turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the partridge halves are lightly and evenly browned.

Add the brandy to the casserole, heat it for 30 seconds and ignite it. Shake the pan until the flames die down. Stir in the stock, cinnamon, and the remaining salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the partridge halves are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the casserole from the heat and, using tongs or two large spoons, transfer the partridge halves to a warmed serving dish. Keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

In a small frying-pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the remaining quince slices and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, or until they are golden brown on both sides. Remove the pan from the heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the quince slices to kitchen paper towels to drain. Set aside and keep warm.

Return the casserole to the heat, in-crease the heat to high and boil the liquid for 3 to 5 minutes or until the liquid has been reduced by about one-third of its original quantity.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar, cream and chervil. Cook the sauce for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until it is hot but not boiling.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the sauce over the partridge halves and garnish them with the sauteed quince slices.

Serve immediately.

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