Thyme-stuffed partridge

Theo Randalls method of wrapping the partridge with pancetta will keep the bird lovely and moist as it cooks
By Theo Randall
Thyme-stuffed partridge
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 partridges
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 6 slices pancetta
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 150 g cooked peeled chestnuts
  • 1 glass port
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, leaves separated, shredded
  • 50-100 ml chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. Place one thyme sprig into the cavity of each partridge and wrap each with three slices of pancetta. Secure the bacon to the bird by tying up with kitchen string.

3. In a large ovenproof heavy-based pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and sear the partridges on all sides, or until lightly golden-brown all over. Add the finely chopped carrot, onion, celery and chestnuts to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

4. Add the port to the pan and transfer to the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the partridges are golden-brown all over and cooked to your liking. At the end of cooking, add a splash of chicken stock to the pan to loosen the sauce.

5. Meanwhile, cook the Savoy cabbage leaves in a pot of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.

6. In a large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil and fry the garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the Savoy cabbage leaves and slowly cook over a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the cabbage is lightly caramelised around the edges.

7. To serve, divide the cabbage between two serving plates and place a partridge on top of each pile, scattering over the bacon pieces. Spoon over the roasting tin juices, along with the finely chopped vegetables.

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