Friday, December 13, 2013

Pheasant and Partridge in Cabbage

I remember well that this was a dish on the menu in a Paris restaurant where Mozart ate. So he probably ate the same. It was for partridge cooked in cabbage. When I returned to England I made a guess as to how it was made and have thrived on it ever since. Simply put: a cabbage is cut up finely and put into a casserole. On to it you add pepper and salt, some olive oil and white wine. This is worked with the hands until the cabbage is glistening. Then partridges or pheasants are nestled into it, potatoes added and the result cooked with the lid on in the oven for an hour at least – or two. Margreet’s version takes longer to prepare but shorter to cook. It is richer, and very good.


PHEASANT AND PARTRIDGE IN CABBAGE (Margreet’s recipe simplified a bit by Jim)


You will need:

Streaky bacon on the fat side (about 6 rashers)

Pheasant(s) or partridge(s)

Cabbage of your choice


A herb of your choice (fresh or dried)

Pepper and salt

White wine


Chop up and fry morsels of streaky bacon until crisp, pouring off the bacon fat into a casserole – or, if using the casserole, extract the bacon from the resultant fat. Keep the bacon bits until serving the dish.

In a large saucepan boil, in salted water, a cabbage, cut up finely, with several potatoes, cut to walnut size. Only add enough water to about the half way mark, allowing the cabbage/potato mix to boil and steam. Time it for 20 minutes, and well strain the contents, using the liquid as an addition to soup, or the start of one.

In the casserole with the bacon fat and your chosen herb (it could be thyme or rosemary), cook the pepper and salted bird(s), turning them as you do so, giving pheasant 10 minutes or 5 for partridge. Take them out.

Partridges may be halved beforehand with a heavy bladed and sharp knife by pressing its sharp edge down the side of a breastbone, using considerable force. It’s not easy to do. 

Now put the drained cabbage and potato mix into the casserole, adding a slosh of white wine for moisture. Give it a gentle stir. Then nestle the birds into it.

With the lid on the casserole, cook the dish in a pre-heated medium to hot  oven for about 3/4of an hour.

Place the partridge or carved pheasant meat on a plate and surround with the potato/cabbage mixture – which will remind you a bit of bubble and squeak. Sprinkle over the crispy bacon bits.

This is a dish that can be prepared well beforehand, then oven-heated and served at the table exactly when wanted.