Pancetta Partridge in Wine Sauce
For me, there aren't too many things more enjoyable than heading to Northern Ontario with my son and doing some partridge hunting. I think any hunter who's been lucky enough to have had this experience with their son (or good buddies) would agree. The crisp, fresh smell of fall and walking the trails is great. But, now that you've got a grouse or two, do it justice and cook it well. After a few years of looking for a good way to cook these birds I think I've found a winner, thanks to an old Northerner at the Kenogami Bridge Inn. Serve on rice or mashed potatoes.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 3skinned partridges, breast meat filleted from the bone
- 1tablespoon butter, or as needed
- 1(8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1onion, chopped
- 2cloves garlic, minced
- 1bunch fresh spinach
- 1cup cold water
- 1(.75 ounce) packet dry mushroom gravy mix
- ½cup dry red wine
- ½cup 35% cream
- 1pinch chopped fresh thyme
- 8thin slices pancetta
Step 1Place partridge fillets, one at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and tenderize by tapping with a rolling pin; set aside.
Step 2Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute mushrooms, onion, and garlic until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Step 3Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Step 4Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spinach and cook, uncovered, until it turns bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and immediately immerse in ice water for several minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and dice.
Step 5Stir cold water gradually into gravy mix in a small saucepan using a whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until gravy comes to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and mix wine, cream, and thyme into gravy; gravy will thicken upon standing.
Step 6Lay tenderized fillets on a cutting board and place a thin layer of blanched spinach on top. Top with a thin layer of sauteed mushrooms, followed by 1 piece of pancetta. Roll and fold fillets, securing with toothpicks. Place into a small roasting pan. Pour gravy over meat until completely immersed.
Step 7Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 45 minutes.