Tired of turkey? Partridge is a wonderful alternative for Christmas dinner. Stuff with a festive pork and chestnut stuffing for a truly delicious Christmas roast.
4 partridges (or poussin)
2 tbsp butter
2 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
100g/3½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
150g/5oz good-quality pork sausage meat
75g/3oz cooked chestnuts, chopped
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 streaky bacon rashers
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 5.
Rinse the partridges, inside and out, then pat dry, inside and out, using kitchen paper. Set aside.
Heat half of the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, sausage meat, chestnuts, sage leaves, apricots and lemon zest in a bowl until well combined. Stir in the cooked onions and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set the stuffing mixture aside to cool.
When the stuffing mixture has completely cooled, stuff the partridges with it. Place the stuffed partridges into a roasting tray and smear the remaining butter all over them. Top each partridge with two rashers of streaky bacon.
Roast the stuffed partridges in the oven for 45 minutes, or until cooked through (the partridges are cooked through when the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of each bird). Set aside to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with fondant potatoes and pickled pears.
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