THERE are usually plentiful game birds – pheasant, partridge, pigeon etc – in the farmers market around now and typically they are cheap. I bought four partridge for £10 where four mince patties for burgers were £6. Of course you can roast the birds and use the carcass for the recipes below but you get more flavour if you poach them and work on the broth. I am going to post two recipes from the same base, although you probably might not guess they were even of the same family. In all I got about 20 portions.
Swedes, parsnips and celeriac all come in pretty big sizes now too, so it is not so wasteful discarding the first batch from the broth, although if you bought the beef patties, you could use them as simmered vegetables to go with. (My mum always maintained burgers were Russian anyway and would serve the meat panfried with some mushrooms sweated in butter and finished with a dollop of creme fraiche).
I am not sure if this is a stew or a soup, take your pick…
Game broth with lentils, roots, kale and chestnuts
2 partridges, I large leek, 1 large parsnip, half a large celeriac, half a swede,I large carrot, I bunch parsley
Cover the birds with cold water in a large pan and bring to a simmer. Trim half the vegetables, neatly if you are going to serve, roughly if you not. Keep the skins if they are clean. We will use the other half for the soup. As the water comes to a bubble, add in the vegetables. Just take the roots off the parsley and keep the leaves for garnish. Simmer 20 minutes. Lift out the partridges and let cool for a few moments. Carve off the breasts and set aside and return the rest to the broth and vegetables. Simmer covered for an hour.
Split the broth into two pans. Discard the vegetables and the bones.
2 litres of broth from above, 100g lentils, 100g chestnuts vacuum packed, leftover vegetables from above, 2 stalks kale
Cover the base of the pan with a layer of lentils. Add the broth and the chestnuts and bring to a boil. Trim the leftover halves of parsnip, celeriac, carrot and swede into neat cubes. Take two of the partridge breasts and dice small. Add all to the broth and simmer 20 minutes. Trim the stalk off the kale and massage in your hands and mix in for another five minutes.