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    Warm Salad of Partridge, Squash, Girolles and Grapes

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    Warm Salad of Partridge, Squash, Girolles and Grapes

    This is autumn on a plate: the separate, seasonal ingredients combine to make a truly magnificent salad. Cook the partridge pink so it stays juicy, contrasting with the crispy bacon.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes
    • Cooking time: 50 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 2


    • 1 small onion or acorn squash, seeded and cut into 8 wedges
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 thyme sprig
    • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bruised
    • 40g unsalted butter
    • 120g girolle mushrooms, wiped clean
    • 2 partridges, about 300g each, prepared and trussed
    • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
    • 100g black or red grapes
    • A squeeze lemon juice
    • 70g watercress or land cress


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Put the squash (don’t worry about the skin, it’s edible and delicious), 1 tbsp olive oil, the thyme and garlic in a roasting tin; season and dot over 20g butter. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway, until soft and turning golden. Mix in the girolles and roast for a further 5 minutes, until just wilted. Set the tin aside, loosely covered with foil.
    2. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/gas 7. Heat 1 tbsp oil and the remaining butter in an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Season the partridge and brown all over in the hot pan for 5 minutes. Sit breast-side up and lay 2 bacon rashers on each – this keeps the breast moist. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until medium-rare and the bacon is crisp. Set aside, covered with foil, to rest for 10 minutes.
    3. For the dressing, put 30g grapes into a small saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Heat gently, covered, for 6–8 minutes or until soft and broken down. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl, pushing all the juice out. Discard the pulp. Whisk the remaining oil into the warm grape juice, and tip in the juices from the squash and mushroom pan. Season to taste and squeeze in some lemon juice, then add any resting juices from the partridge. Halve the remaining grapes and stir them in.
    4. Take the bacon off each partridge, then cut away the legs and breasts. Place a handful of watercress on a plate and top with the squash and girolles. Arrange the partridge portions on top, then the bacon; spoon over the grapes and dressing. Serve immediately.

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    Drinks recommendation

    Try a refreshing demi-sec from the Loire Valley with this richly flavoured warm salad: it’s perfect both with the grape-sweetened juices and the tender meat.


    Average user rating

    4 stars