On the First Day of Christmas

Chef Fergus Henderson Serves Up His Recipe for Roast Partridge

To usher in the holiday season, NOWNESS turned to the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as inspiration for our own rendition of an advent calendar. We briefed our illustrious contributors to take creative license with the theme and respond to each line of the iconic tune with visually enticing stories. The days ahead feature two of our favorite bloggers showcasing their dove-themed refinery, three French style icons revealing their New Year’s Eve outfits, an animated homage to six mega-philanthropists including Bill Gates, and much more. To inaugurate the series, Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant (and “nose to tail” eating fame) shares an exclusive recipe starring Day One’s synonymous winter game, partridge. For a twist on classic eggnog, click here

Roast Partridge

Serves one

  • 1 Grey partridge
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

  1. Season bird inside and out. Put the thyme and butter into the cavity. Melt some butter in an oven-proof frying pan. When sizzling, brown the partridge in the pan being careful not to leave the breast down against the hot pan for too long as this is the most delicate part.
  2. Turn the partridge breast up and place in a hot oven for ten to 12 minutes. When the butter inside the partridge has melted this is a good indication that it’s ready.
  3. Remove from the oven and place upside down on a warm plate somewhere warm (but not so hot as to carry on cooking the bird).
  4. Leave to rest for ten minutes, by which time the bird should have the faintest of blushing breasts. 
  5. Serve with Orbs of Joy and bread sauce.

Orbs of Joy

Serves one

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 knob of duck fat
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  1. Peel the onion, being careful not to remove too much of the root or top.
  2. Melt the duck fat in an oven-proof pan or tray and roll the onion in the fat to color slightly. Season well and pour chicken stock over the onions until it comes half-way up the side of the pan or tray. 
  3. Place in a medium oven and bake until the stock has reduced to a syrupy glaze and the onions are tender.

Bread sauce

  • 500ml milk
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 peppercorns 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of mace 
  • Pinch of salt

  1. Peel and stud the onion with cloves. 
  2. Bring the milk to a simmer and add the onion, peppercorns, bay leaves, mace and salt. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for half-an-hour.
  3. Strain the milk into a new pan and place on the heat bringing it back to just below a simmer—don't allow it to boil. 
  4. Add the breadcrumbs and leave to swell.
  5. Add the butter and beat until the mixture has combined. Serve hot.


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Conversations (1)

  • Alla-white
    disgusting!
    • Posted By Alla-white
    • December 29, 2010 at 5:12AM
    • Share Comment:

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