I shall be writing shortly about the overlooked region of Navarra. It is not the first name on the lips of people discussing the cuisine of Spain. That's a pity. The area offers so much quality food along with some ingredients that are a must for so many recipes. Navarra is famous for its farming of ducks and also for being an area where hunting is big business and game is eaten regularly in the home and also in some superb restaurants throughout the region. Here is a typical local recipe for partridge in a chocolate sauce that was first served to me when I joined a friend in the company of a very big family gathering near Pamplona.

Ingredients

  • 2 oven-ready partridges
  • 4 thin slices of bacon
  • 2 cloves
  • Half a bunch of parsley
  • 2 squares or 50 grams of semi sweet chocolate
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of pork lard
  • 6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 250 ml of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
  • 250 ml of game or chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf

Preparation

Wash the partridges thoroughly. Dry and rub with salt and pepper, inside and out. Wrap the slices of bacon around the partridge breasts. Tie the birds securely in position using kitchen string.
Heat the lard in a braising pan and brown the partridges on all sides. Add the shallots, garlic and carrots. Cook in the fat until they begin to brown. Add the white wine, vinegar and game stock. Season with the bay leaves, cloves and parsley. Cover the pan with a lid and braise the partridge for around 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Strain the sauce through a sieve and bring back to the boil. Crumble the chocolate and melt in the sauce. Leave to thicken slightly and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Remove the slices of bacon from the partridges and put them back in the sauce. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Serve in the sauce. In Navarra a cook will hand out white bread or French toast to go with this dish.