Partridges with Raz El Hanout
- 6 French (red leg) Partridges that have been hung properly
- 1 Good teaspoon per bird of Raz El Hanout and one for the pot
- 3 Medium red onions
- 2 Good fistfuls of sultanas (preferably yellow)
- 2 Generous tablespoons of runny honey (wildflower, mountain, thyme or acacia)
- Third of a pack of butter or equivalent of ghee
- 1 Tumbler of water
- 6 Eggs
- Although butter will suffice for this dish you will be closer to the real thing using ghee, which is readily available in many Indian marts. Smen the Morrocan version is harder to find (notably a little more rancid in taste) but use this if you can find it.
- Ideally the preparation of the birds or lamb you are using should be done a day before.
- Place the partridges in a large bowl and cover them with their measure of Raz. Really rub the mix into their plump bodies with the same care you would expect a massage administered from your loved one. Do not neglect the cavity and apply some of your blend inside. Cover the birds and put them in the fridge.
- Soak the sultanas in a bowl covered with a little water until needed
- On the day of cooking take a large tagine,if you have one, or heavy casserole large enough to fit your covey of partridges.
- Chop the red onion, mincing it to as small as you can. Cast the onion into the pot and dot it with ten or so pinches of butter or ghee. Then sit the birds side by side on top of the raw onion and scatter the soaked sultanas around, pouring in their sweet water aswell. Put knobs of ghee or butter all about the birds and then trail two big spoonfuls of honey over them. Pinch over 2 good teaspoons of salt.
- Put the lid on and cook the birds for twenty minutes on 220 degrees. Turn down the heat to 180 degrees and cook for another twenty minutes having basted the birds with the juices.
- Hard boil the eggs then cool them and peel them. Take the pot out of the oven and put in the halved hard-boiled eggs. Return the lid and leave the pot to stand for another 10 minutes on the top.
- Serve immediately a partridge per person with a spoonful of sauce all about it and half an egg. Accompany this dish with bread or a little cous-cous
- The bread in Morocco is hard to find in England unless you live in a North African district. In my local restaurants often eat this style of dish with soft white rolls baked until warm and just crispy.
- Note - When preparing coffee Raz can be a delightful addition. Maybe not for the morning cup but preferable at about three in the afternoon. Just put 1 full teaspoon in a cafetiere with the ground coffee and pour it out as normal. Good black or white.
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