Grey partridge with lentils and cavalo nero

Theo Randall cooks grey partridge in Primitivo di Puglia and serves it with lentils and garlicky Italian cabbage
By Theo Randall
Grey partridge with lentils and cavalo nero
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1-2
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 small grey partridge, deboned
  • 375 ml Primitivo di Puglia wine
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 cut into chunks, 1 sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp chopped carrots
  • 100 g pancetta, cut into matchsticks
  • 150g lentils, preferably castellucio or puy
  • 2 heads cavolo nero, stems removed
  • 1 dash extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped


1. Place the partridge in a flat dish and pour over 50ml of the wine. Add the thyme, chunks of garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion (or shallot), celery, carrot and pancetta and fry until the pancetta is slightly coloured. Add the lentils, remaining wine and enough water so that the lentils are covered by 3cm of liquid. Simmer until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender.

3. In a large pan of boiling salted water, blanch the cavalo nero until tender. Drain thoroughly and chop roughly.

4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the reserved sliced garlic and the chopped cavolo nero. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm.

5. Heat a non-stick lidded saucepan and add a little olive oil. Pat the partridge dry and season on each side with salt and pepper. Add the partridge to the heated pan (reserving the marinade) and brown the partridge on all sides. Reduce the heat and cook with the lid on for about 10 minutes.

6. Once cooked, remove the partridge from the pan and leave to rest, covered in a warm place. Add the reserved marinade to the pan and cook over a high heat until thickened.

7. Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil and the anchovies to the pan. Allow the anchovies to dissolve then taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

8. Cut the partridge in half and serve with the lentils and cavalo nero. Drizzle over the sauce and serve at once.

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