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And a partridge in a pear tree....!

WELL, not quite. But it's almost Christmas - such as it is this year - and this recipe is a nod to the season using the best of what Yorkshire has to offer. I know I keep banging on about it, but who needs supermarkets to feed you when you've got amazing food and drink being produced here?

Yorkshire loves local especially as it's very much a case of god's own bounty in god's own county. The partridge came straight off the North York Moors, the cider from Ampleforth Abbey in the Howardian Hills, just one of the many quality cider producers here. As for the vegetables, they've all come from our pals Charlotte and Jason at Bert's Barrow farm shop near Selby. No need to stockpile lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli when you've got local stuff like this being turfed out of Yorkshire soil....

Christmas partridge and pear 'risotto' salad

Serves 4

200g pearled spelt

500ml Yorkshire cider

2 Williams pears, halved, cored and cut into 6 wedges

1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 oven-ready partridges

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large rib celery, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed and chopped

2 rashers smoked bacon, chopped

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs thyme

Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Heat a good plug of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil in a sauté pan, chuck in the pearled spelt and stir until coated. Pour in 400ml cider, bring to the boil, put on a lid, reduce to a simmer and leave well alone until all the liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.

Heat a little more oil in a frying pan and cook the pear wedges for a few minutes until caramelised. Scoop out the pears and put in a roasting tin, then sprinkle over the cinnamon.

Brown the partridge in the same pan with more rapeseed oil, making sure they are really golden all over. Put the partridge on top of the pear wedges, season and pour over the remaining cider. Cook for 15 minutes or so in the hot oven until the meat juices come clear when prodded in the thickest part.

Remove the partridge to rest covered in foil and pour the cider juices and pear wedges into a small pan. Heat until bubbling, whisk in a knob of butter to emulsify and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sauté the diced vegetables along with the bay leaf and thyme in rapeseed oil until soft and golden. Stir in the cooked pearled spelt and when warmed through, mix in the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season to taste.

Carve the partridge breast and legs and serve on top of the warm salad with the pear and cider sauce poured over.

Enjoy! Wishing you as happy a Christmas as you can make it in these strange times - I'll be back in 2021 with more tales and tastes of Yorkshire food and drink. In the meantime check out what you can do in Yorkshire next year...

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