4 crowns of partridge, (breasts still attached to the bone, but wings and legs removed)
salt and pepper
4 sprigs thyme
12 slices bacon
25 grams butter, plus extra for deglazing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
100 grams pancetta lardons
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 savoy cabbage, sliced
100ml chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Season the partridge crowns and lay a sprig of thyme on each, then wrap them in 3 slices of bacon each, securing with cotton string. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy ovenproof pan, and sear the breasts until they are a good golden color. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, fry the onions until beginning to soften, then add the pancetta lardons and cook until beginning to brown. Add the crushed garlic and sliced cabbage to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Pour in the stock and lay the partridge on top of the cabbage. Cover with foil and cook in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and make sure the birds are just cooked (the juices should run clear); if they are not give them 5 minutes more.
Remove the birds and cabbage from the pan and set aside to rest. Bring the pan to the heat and deglaze with a glass of Marsala. Add a knob of butter to the pan and incorporate into the wine.
To serve, pile some cabbage on a plate and lay a partridge crown on top. Pour a tablespoon or so of the intense Marsala sauce over each one and enjoy!
courtesy of: Wild Flavours: Real Produce, Real Food, Real Cooking by Mike Robinson. Cassell Illustrated, 2006