Barbecued partridge in yoghurt, fenugreek & black pepper

Barbecued partridge in yoghurt, fenugreek & black pepper

By
From
Gather
Serves
2
Photographer
Andrew Montgomery

Unless we’re lucky and have a dry, sunny winter, the barbecue and the game seasons seem to miss each other, which means that it doesn’t seem obvious to cook game on a barbecue. It’s a shame, because I think it’s an approach well worth exploring – and who’s to say we can’t cook outside over hot coals in the winter sunshine? This recipe is a hopeful ode to a fine late-autumn and winter – or at the very least, a dryish one. The birds are spatchcocked, then spiced, then cooked cut-side down, which helps to keep the breast lovely and moist.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2-3 cardamom pods, seeds removed
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons plain natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
2 oven-ready partridges

Method

  1. Dry fry the cinnamon piece, fenugreek and cardamom seeds, chilli flakes and peppercorns in a small frying pan over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, until they are warm and aromatic. Tip the spices into a mill or a pestle and mortar and grind to a fairly fine texture. Place the spice mix in a small bowl and add the yoghurt, salt, turmeric and grated garlic. Mix well to combine and set aside.
  2. Position one partridge breast-side down on a board. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut down each side of the backbone and remove the bone. Discard, or freeze it for your next stock. Repeat for the other bird. Using the flat of your hand, press down hard on the birds to open them out. Don’t worry if you get tearing around the leg. Rub the birds all over with the spiced yoghurt, cover, and leave to marinate in the fridge for 6–8 hours or overnight.
  3. Light the barbecue and allow the charcoal to burn down to a nice even, high heat (it’s ready when you can hover your hand over the grill for only 1–2 seconds). Pass a couple of wooden kebab sticks through each bird, then place them, cut-side down on the warmed grill, and cook for 15–20 minutes, until the underside is looking coloured and crispy in places. Using the kebab sticks, flip the birds over to cook for a further 8–10 minutes, until the breast side is also golden. (You can cook them using the same technique on a medium-hot chargrilling pan, if you prefer.) Remove the birds from the direct heat, resting them at the edge of the grill for 5–10 minutes. Serve the birds whole with a tomato, onion and coriander salad. More yoghurt and some flat breads wouldn’t hurt either.
Tags:
River Cottage
seasonal
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