200g porridge oats
100g prunes, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
½ tsp ground cinnamon
freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp juniper berries
4 oven-ready partridges
4 pancettta rashers
8 figs, cut in half lengthways
2 long cinnamon sticks, split lengthways
fresh rosemary leaves, to garnish
Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the oats into a bowl, then stir in the prunes, parsley, ground cinnamon, orange juice, orange zest and agood splash of oil. Crush the juniper berries with a pestle and mortar, then add them to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
To prepare the partridges, use a small knife to cut down either side of the bird’s wishbone and remove it. Use your fingers to check that all the heart and stomach have been removed from the carcass. Repeat with the remaining birds.
Divide the oat mixture among the partridge cavities. Cover the back of each bird with a bacon rasher and tie in place with kitchen string, then truss the legs together for even cooking. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Roll any remaining oat mixture into golf ball-sized balls to cook with partridges. Heat a heavy-based roasting tray over a medium-high heat,
then add a good splash of oil. When hot, add the partridges and turn them as necessary until they are coloured all over and the bacon is crispy. Transfer the roasting tray to the oven and roast for 12 mins, adding any extra oat balls for the final 6 mins.
Thread the fig halves and cinnamon stick pieces on 4 kebab sticks. Add the figs to the roasting tray and return to the oven for a further 2–3 mins until the partridges are medium-rare and the figs are tender.
Transfer the birds to a warm plate and set aside to rest for 5 mins covered with kitchen foil. While the birds are resting, return the oat balls and figs to the oven. Serve the partridges straight from the roasting tray, sprinkled with rosemary leaves, with the figs and oat balls.
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