Seared Red-leg Partridge with Ravioli of Foie Gras, Truffled Grits, and Sweetbreads in Truffle Jus
Scottish red-leg partridge are quartered and seared, then served over a bed of truffled grits. A single large ravioli filled with foie gras accompanies the dish. Other accents include stuffed squash blossoms and baby vegetables, all with pan jus. This dish could also be made with quail, squab, or Cornish game hens. Chef Waggoner uses the carcass and trimmings to make the jus.
- Sweetbreads - 1 pound
- Lemon Juice - 1 teaspoon
- Sweetbread-Mushroom Stuffing
- Sweetbreads (above)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Duck fat or clarified butter (see Basics) - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Shallot - 1/2, minced
- Mixed Wild Mushrooms - 1/2 cup, (preferably morels and black trumpet), cleaned and chopped
- Chives - 6, minced
- Baby Vegetables
- Baby Carrots - 8, tops trimmed
- Baby Turnips - 8, tops trimmed
- Baby Beets - 8, tops trimmed
- Truffled Grits
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Truffle - 1 piece
- Shallots - 1, minced
- Truffle pieces - 2 tablespoons
- Chicken Stock (see Basics) - 3 cups
- Grits - 1 cup
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Partridge and Jus
- Red-leg partridges - 4
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Duck fat or clarified butter - 3/4 cup
- Dry white wine - 1 cup
- Chicken Stock (see Basics) - 2 cups
- Ravioli of Foie Gras
- Fresh foie gras - 1 piece (1/2 to 3/4 pound), chilled
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Chives - 6 to 8
- Egg - 1
- Cool Water - 1 tablespoon
- Pasta Dough - 8 sheets, very thin, approximately 4 inches square
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Stuffed Squash Blossoms
- Baby pattypan squash - 12, with blossoms still on the squash
- Sweetbread-Mushroom Stuffing (above)
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon, melted
- Unsalted Butter - tablespoons
- Truffle juice - 1 tablespoon
- Chives - 16
- Chervil Sprig - 4
To prepare the sweetbreads: Soak the sweetbreads for 1 hour in cool water, changing the water several times to draw off the blood. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the lemon juice. Blanch the sweetbreads for 3 minutes, then drain. Plunge into cold water until cold, then drain again. Trim off membrane and connective tissue. Wrap loosely and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use in the squash blossom stuffing.
To prepare the squash blossom stuffing: Cut the sweetbreads into 1/2-inch dice and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the duck fat a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and saute the sweetbreads quickly until browned on one side. Add the shallots and the remaining duck fat, reduce the heat to medium, and turn the sweetbreads to cook on the other side. Do not brown the shallots. Add the mushrooms and saute for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the chives. Put the mixture in a bowl, cover loosely, and chill in the refrigerator.
To prepare the vegetables: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the carrots. Cook 1 minute, remove from the water with a slotted spoon, and plunge into cold water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the turnips, then the beets. Set the vegetables aside until ready to serve.
To make the grits: Put the butter in a medium saucepan and add the truffle. Mash the two together with a fork until well blended. Melt the mixture over medium heat and add the shallots; cook until the shallots are softened and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the truffle pieces and saute for 30 seconds, stirring gently. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly add the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep them from lumping. When the grits have plumped up and thickened, let cook 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if necessary to keep them moist. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside; keep warm.
To prepare the partridges and jus: Cut a partridge down the center of the back and breast. Remove the wings and legs. Remove the internal organs from the carcass and chop the gizzard, heart, and liver for use with the sauce. Repeat with each partridge.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Season the legs and breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1/2 cup of the duck fat in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the legs. Sear on one side, 30 to 45 seconds, then turn. Add more of the duck fat if necessary. Add the breasts, skin-side down, and sear for 45 seconds. Remove the legs from the pan and put into a baking pan; put into the oven and roast 12 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Turn the breasts and cook for 30 seconds on the other side. Remove the breasts from the pan and place in a small roasting pan near the stove; let stand to allow the heat to continue to cook the meat.
Season the carcass and giblets with salt and pepper. In the same saute pan or skillet used for the legs and breasts, brown the carcass and giblets over medium-high heat. Let them build the browned layer of juices in the bottom of the pan. When the meat and skin pieces are well browned, lift out the large carcass pieces. Add the wine and stir up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the wine has reduced by half in volume. Add the chicken stock and reduce in half by volume again. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and keep hot until ready to serve.
To make the ravioli: Dice the cold foie gras into 1/2-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a dry cast iron skillet very hot over high heat. Sear the foie gras dice for 15 seconds; toss or turn and sear for 20 seconds on the other side. Add the butter and remove from the heat; stir in the chives and let wilt. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine the egg and water, whisking just until blended, to form an egg wash. Lay half of the pasta sheets on a work surface. Brush the dough with egg wash. Place a spoonful of the foie gras mixture in the center of each. Top with the remaining sheets of pasta dough and press together around the filling. Remove as much air as possible. Cut into 3-1/2-inch rounds with a fluted cookie cutter. Press the edges to seal again.
Bring a medium saucepan of chicken stock to a boil. Slip the ravioli into the boiling stock, a few at a time, and poach for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel, patting the tops dry. Repeat until all ravioli have been cooked.
To prepare the stuffed squash blossoms: Preheat the oven to 375. Slice off the bottom half of the pattypan squash. Open the petals of a blossom and spoon the cooled sweetbread mixture into the blossom. Gently close the petals around the stuffing with your fingers. Place the stuffed squash in a baking pan. Repeat with all the squash. Brush the squash lightly with melted butter and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 3 to 5 minutes. The legs and breasts may be rewarmed in the oven at the same time. Remove and keep warm.
To serve: Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in each of two small saute pans over medium heat. Add the baby carrots and turnips to one; put the baby beets in the other. Reheat the vegetables in the butter. Place two partridge legs on one side of a large warmed serving plate. Place a line of truffled grits on the other side of the plate. Put a ravioli in the center. Cut two breasts in half horizontally and arrange on the grits, overlapping the breast slices slightly. Put three squash blossoms to one side of the plate. Arrange two baby carrots, two baby turnips, and two baby beets on the ravioli. Repeat with remaining plates. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce if necessary with salt and pepper and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the truffle juice. Drizzle the sauce on the breasts. Garnish each plate with 4 chive tips and a sprig of chervil.