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Health Food of the month - Partridge

November 2016


Previous Health Foods of the Month...



Sea Bass


Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

Join in the Great British Game Week
with tasty and nutritious partridge

From our childhood most of us will at least have heard of partridges…that partridge in a pear tree is the famous last line of the Twelve Days of Christmas song.

In fact, it turns out that finding a partridge in a pear tree is most unlikely! Partridges are ground nesting birds and the thoughts are that the phrase “in a pear tree” is a corruption from the French word for partridge…une perdrix.

Whatever the origins, partridges are birds that most of us have heard of but many of us have never eaten.

Which is a shame because not only are they very tasty but they are highly nutritious too.

Partridges are medium sized game birds smaller than pheasants but larger than quails. They are native to Europe and Asia and naturally live on seeds and insects. In recent times the grey partridge and the red-legged partridge have been also reared in captivity as game birds.

The grey partridge is the one most generally found in shops today and has a delicate tender flesh which can be full of individual gamey flavour. Red legged partridges are slightly larger with a milder flavour.

Both birds are classed as game meat and are low in fat and full of great nutrition. Partridge contains good levels of iron, high protein levels, lower cholesterol than red meat or even chicken, and no saturated fatty acids. The only other meats that offer this are turkey and venison; even chicken and pheasant both contain some saturated fatty acids.

Partridge doesn’t contain a much vitamin B3 or vitamin B12 as say beef or lamb, but it does contain useful levels of vitamins Bi, B2 and B6. It also offers among the highest levels of selenium in meat, higher than most other red or indeed white meats, and levels of zinc.

In fact partridges are very useful birds in the kitchen that really do offer serious health benefits. One aspect which may have stopped it becoming a household meat is its size. Partridges are small and really you often need one bird per person.  But this shouldn’t put you off partridges, and today you can buy deboned and easy to carve partridges which are easy to cook and very tasty to eat. 

You can today buy prepared and even stuffed partridges ready to cook; but if you want to find some more unusual recipes for this very versatile bird, then the Country Allliance’s Game To Eat and also the Taste of Game websites offers lots of information.

Interest in game food is steadily increasing in the UK and between the 21st and 27th of this month there is a special 2016 Great British Game Week.

This will feature various events across the country but the highlight is the Great British Game Food Festival taking place on Saturday 19th November at London's Borough Market. The event will present an array of delicious, healthy and sustainable foods from a range of quality and unique UK producers.  

The event is being sponsored by The ETM Group and supported by both Game to Eat and Taste of Game and will feature stands from enthusiasts including Cornish Venison, Buckland Venison, Hammond Charcuterie, Mud Pie, The Real Cure, Foxdenton, Wild Game Co. The Game Chef, The Wild Food Catering Company, Spit and Roast, Great Glen Charcuterie and The Country Food Trust who supply food to the homeless.

Entry is free and there is a packed programme with demonstrations, tastings and presentations. Find more information here.


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