Cook it, live it – roast partridge with halloumi

Cook roast partridge with halloumi and grapes, live it with stylish Habitat dinnerware and accessories.

We know autumn is upon us, but we’re clinging to brighter times with recipes from chef Maria Elia‘s new book, Smashing Plates. Anglo Greek Cypriot Maria combines sensational flavours, colours and textures to create imaginative dishes in this beautiful collection of recipes, redefining Greek cuisine.

The 120 recipes are inspired by her Cypriot roots and a summer spent cooking at her father’s taverna in the Troodos Mountains. We can’t wait to try Carrot Keftedes, Courgette and Feta Crumbed Squid, and tempting sweet dishes including Watermelon Mahalepi, Rose Water and Almond chocolate tea cakes and Chocolate Tahini Cake.

Maria’s love of cooking developed as a child growing up in the kitchen of her Greek Cypriot father’s restaurant in Richmond. After a rigorous apprenticeship, Maria began her progression through the culinary world. She worked in Italy, America and Australia, spent time cooking at El Bulli and Arzak restaurants in Spain and at The Oriental Cooking School in Bangkok.

The regional flavours of these far-flung places feature in Maria’s own recipes, earning her many fans during her time as head chef at Delfina and the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room, where she gained 2 AA rosettes and a Michelin recommendation. Her other books are The Modern Vegetarian and Full of Flavour, also published by Kyle Books.

Maria says: ‘I saw a lot of partridges scurrying/waddling around the mountains while in Cyprus. It seemed only natural to combine them with ingredients from their habitat. Both grapes and walnuts are harvested around the time that the partridge season begins. Halloumi is used to keep the birds moist. Serve simply with a green salad dressed with walnut oil.

If you want to add a touch of tradition when serving the game birds, lightly fry four slices of Greek bread in a little butter and olive oil and sit your partridge on top! You could also use quails for this recipe, but you’ll need to reduce the cooking time considerably.’

Serves 4

8 large fresh vine leaves, or pickled leaves if fresh unavailable
200g halloumi
4 plump partridge
8 sprigs of thyme
8 sprigs of oregano
8 rashers of streaky bacon
100g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grape jelly, or quince jelly or paste if unavailable, or fig jam!
200ml Mavrodaphne (sweet Greek red wine), Port or sweet vermouth
300ml chicken stock
120g green or black seedless grapes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Blanch the vine leaves in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Refresh in cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper and trim off any stems. (If using pickled leaves, simply rinse well and pat dry with kitchen paper.)

Cut the halloumi into four and wrap each piece in a vine leaf. Season the partridge inside and out with salt and pepper and place a halloumi parcel in each with a sprig of thyme and oregano.

Place two bacon rashers over each bird and top with a vine leaf. Tie the legs together with string to secure and place in a roasting tin and dot with butter. Roast for 20 minutes, then peel the vine leaf from the surface and discard. Baste the birds with the juices and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the partridge are cooked. Remove the birds and place on a plate, cover with foil and rest for at least 10 minutes.

Put the roasting tin over a moderate flame, add the jelly and let it melt into the juices. Add the wine, deglaze and reduce by half; add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the grapes and cook for 2 minutes more.

Remove the string from the partridges and serve, with sauce spooned over the top.

Panda chopping board; Agra black marble pestle and mortar; Stirling runner; Terra yellow rectangular terracotta baking dish; Freda tea towel; Merlot decanter; Vienna red wine glass; Evora turquoise plate; Umbria placemat; Sunbury cutlery; Gala napkin; Agra marble board

For more delicious recipes and stylish tabletop idea, click below…

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