Game, such as partridge, is the ultimate British winter food – and it’s also healthy, versatile and full of flavour, yet it is still relatively underused in British menus.
That’s why we are encouraging people to put game on their menus this winter. As a not-for-profit company, Wild and Game launched in 2017 with a mission to boost game consumption in the UK. We use game as a key ingredient in our range of high-quality pies, pasties, sausage rolls, pates, sausages and ready meals, and also sells whole game birds and handy packs of meat for easy home cooking.
Our products include familiar recipes such as ale pie, tikka masala and chilli, which are made with game sourced from British suppliers. In particular, it is championing less widely used meats such as pheasant, partridge and grouse.
We have excellent links with game suppliers to ensure we have a ready supply of game birds, and their website is well-stocked with recipe ideas to give home cooks inspiration.
Wild and Game on partridge
Partridge season runs from September 1 to February 1, so now is the perfect time to stock up your freezer with these wonderful little birds. They’re easy to cook and make a perfect autumnal meal served with simple, traditional vegetables and a glass or two of light wine.
There are two types of partridge in the UK. Grey partridges are pretty rare these days. The most readily available partridge is the red-legged variety. It’s larger than the grey partridge, with a distinctive black-rimmed white patch on its chin and throat. An introduced species that originated in Europe, it was probably brought over from France in the 17th Century to boost stocks.
There’s a difference between the flavour of the two types of partridge: grey partridges have pale, tender, flavoursome meat while red partridge meat is milder, making it ideal for people who are new to eating game. Whichever type of partridge you have, it needs to be hung to develop its flavour – a few days for an adult, but shorter for younger birds.
Young partridge benefits from light, quick-cooking and is best served pink and juicy. Try breast fillets wrapped in bacon and make an apple and cider sauce to go with it or roast it and make a gravy from the cooking juices. If you’re cooking a whole bird, be aware it doesn’t need to be cooked for as long as chicken. For older birds, braising or stewing work better, to ensure they are tender and juicy.