The joy of eating partridge

Javier Varela


José Antonio Medina, chef at Coto de Quevedo*, highlights the value of the Red-legged Partridge in rural gastronomy

"Our trademark is hunting and the Red-legged Partridge". With this gastronomic leitmotiv, José Antonio Medina, chef at Coto de Quevedo* (Torre de Juan Abad, Ciudad Real), highlights the value of the product of his environment, and the rural way of life, which he defends unconditionally. It was from his kitchen that he took his proposal for a rural gastronomy that looks at its surroundings through the red partridge to Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España. "We cook it in a thousand different ways", he confesses, before explaining that it is a product that has always been present in his family, through partridge hunting and all the recipes associated with it.

Medina's passion for cooking runs in the family. He spent his childhood in his parents' home in Puebla del Príncipe (Ciudad Real), and was nourished by his mother's delicious recipes, who taught him the culinary basics of the Castilian recipe book. "Our relationship with partridge is enormous, and we use both free-range and farmed partridge, although the latter has a pumpkin colour and is not as red as free-range partridge", he explains. "It is true that genetically they are both pure, and we can make the free-range partridge look like the native partridge", he added. However, "the feed and the time the partridges spend in the field are the key to their flavour", he said.

He has often been told that partridge no longer tastes like it used to, which the chef from Castile-La Mancha considers to be "a half-truth". And he explains why. "The flavour of farmed partridges that don't come from the field is not the classic one, but the cooking time can achieve a similar flavour". However, he clarifies that they choose the partridges according to whether they want to make "a stew, a marinade, or our classic pâté".

This pâté is made with a sauce of fried onions and mushrooms, to which brandy, liver, aromatic herbs, and salt, are added. "We add a poultry and partridge stock to the liver, a sultana gel, a garlic and mushroom crocanti, to give us the salty taste of the countryside, and a few flowers. A snack on his menu.

It was not the only one he presented in the Madrid Fusión kitchens. He delighted the audience with a low temperature partridge leg, stuffed with sultanas and Iberian bacon; a poultry consommé made by roasting 40 partridge carcasses in the oven, adding a chicken bone until the broth is reduced, and served with black truffle. The surprise of the presentation was the white partridge blood sausage. "A recipe from my wife's family, it is made with partridge, bacon, ground almonds, saffron, salt, pepper, egg and breadcrumbs. All this is stuffed and cooked for 20 minutes, and served with a praline made of dried fruit and nuts". A delicacy, according to those lucky enough to try it.






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