- 4 oven ready partridges.
- Olive oil.
- 250ml/9fl oz dry cider.
- 2 tbsp clear honey.
- 200ml/7fl oz chicken stock.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1in/2.5cm chunks.
- A few thyme sprigs, leaves stripped.
- Heat oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
- Cut the backbones out of the partridges using a strong pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears.
- Turn the bird over, then use your bodyweight and press down on the middle of the breast with the heel of your hand, until the partridge flattens out.
- Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan.
- Season the birds with salt and pepper, then brown them quickly, 2 at a time, in the pan.
- Lift out and set aside.
- Mix the cider with the honey, reserve one-third of the mix, then tip the rest into the pan to deglaze.
- Stir in the stock, then reduce the liquid down for 5 mins or until you have a syrupy sauce.
- Season to taste.
- Pop the squash into a mixing bowl, toss with most of the thyme, seasoning, a little of the reserved cider mix and 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Tip onto a non-stick baking tray, then roast for 30 mins.
- Now toss the partridges in what is left of the cider mix.
- Grind lots of black pepper over and scatter with a good sprinkling of salt.
- Nestle the partridges amongst the squash, breast-side up.
- Sprinkle with a little more thyme.
- Roast for 15 mins, then remove the birds and let them rest.
- Turn off the oven and keep the squash warm.
- Cut the birds into quarters and serve on top of pile of squash.
- Drizzle around a little of the sauce and scatter with a little thyme to serve.