There are two main types of partridge available in Britain: the native grey partridge and the red-legged partridge. The former has delicate and tender flesh which, when young, is pale and full of flavour. It's a small bird, so a whole one feeds one person. Red-legged partridge, originally from southern Europe, is a larger bird with a milder flavour. Partridge is best hung for a few days (the more it's hung the more gamey the meat becomes), with young birds benefiting from a shorter hanging time. Any good game dealer or butcher will sell partridge ready to cook.
Don't be afraid to keep it simple when it comes to partridge - young partridge, simply grilled or roasted and served with a light gravy from the cooking juices, is a delicious dish that only needs sweet, roasted autumn vegetables, or traditional game chips (very thinly sliced potato crisps), as an accompaniment.
Don't treat partridge as you would a chicken - these birds need far less time in the oven, and are best served pink and juicy. However older birds, as a rule of thumb, benefit from slower braising and stewing (try classic combinations such as bacon, with a side of Savoy cabbage) to make the most of their intense, rich and robust flavour.
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