Grilled Cheese using Upland Game Birds

Its not very often I get to cook something I have never had before. I have never hunted or eaten Hungarian partridge before and this past summer a buddy of mine Josh Dahlke was having some freezer issues and I took a bit of meat off his hands. Most of that meat needed to be dealt with right away but a few things like the partridge went into my freezer for later use. Josh had told me that he hate to let the go and only now that I have cooked them and ate them do I understand why. Of all the game birds that I have eaten I can easily say that these partridge are among the best I have ever had.

They aren't big birds and I would say they are about the same size as a roughed grouse. the biggest difference being the color of the meat. These partridge have a very beautiful reddish color to them. I had never cooked partridge before and truthfully had know idea what I was going to do with them. Then Netflix released a couple seasons of the Wild Chef with Martin Picard. In the very first episode he cooks partridge and makes a beautiful grilled cheese sandwich. I now had a plan and a free afternoon so I gave it a shot.

This is a very simple sandwich, it doesn't require a lot of ingredients but I will say if you are going to get the best results out of this sandwich regular old white bread and cheese slices aren't going to do it. Buy some nice sourdough bread and splurge a little on some nice cheese. For my sandwich I went with Gruyere because I love the nuttiness of the cheese and when it melts it has a very nice texture.

Season your breast liberally with salt and pepper and then sear them in a pan with a little butter. It doesn't take long only about 2-3 minutes per side to get a nice carmelization on them.

When the breasts are done cooking set the aside for a couple of minutes before slicing them. Meanwhile leave your pan over the heat and deglaze the pan with some beer. Nothing to powerful just a nice lager. If you are looking for a great beer try Fulton's Standard Lager it has become my new favorite beer. Add about a half cup more of the beer and stir in 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic until you have a nice sauce. Add the slices of partridge back to the pan and stir to coat all the pieces.

To assemble your sandwich cut some thick slices of sourdough bread and brush all sides with mayo. Evenly distribute the partridge across the bread and cover with grated gruyere. Grill over medium heat until the bread is nice and golden brown. One of the things Chef Picard did was throw a couple of sprigs of Rosemary on the grill pan and grill the sandwich right on top of it. this infused the sandwich with even more great flavor. This was easily one of the best sandwiches I have ever had and would be wonderful with pretty much any upland bird. I might even try it with duck if I get a chance.