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This is a delicious little dish I made while bird hunting in Montana. You should really try it. Even if you don’t have a partridge handy, it will work with other bird meat… like chicken for example. I recommend keeping the bone in whatever meat you use so the meat doesn’t dry out.

These are the things you will need: pancetta, orange, lemon, salt, pepper, brandy, olive oil, orange juice, dried parsley, dried rosemary, dried tarragon, butter!

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a baking dish except for the butter, the whole orange and the pancetta.

Place the birds breast side down in the marinade and put them in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, turning them over from time to time. The longer it stays in the marinade, the more aromatic the meat will be. But since the meat is delicate you want to stop after about four hours, otherwise the orange flavor will overwhelm it. Cut your orange slices thinly and set them aside as well.

Right before it goes into the oven, place 1 piece of orange and 1 piece of pancetta on top and toss in the cold butter cubed.

You’re going to baste it every 5 minutes.

…Until the pancetta is crisp. The breast meat should be pretty firm but skill give when pressed.

Then you can reduce the sauce further by putting it back into the oven while the birds rest. Then you pour it over.

And if you want to serve it as an appetizer, you can cut the birds in half so that everyone gets 1 breast. I like to slide the orange and pancetta off and eat them as a side here so as to get the full delicate flavor of the meat.


“Partridge with Pancetta in Orange Brandy Sauce”

Prep Time3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the Marinade:

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To Cook:

  • 4 partridge butterflied, bone in
  • 4 round slices of pancetta thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter cubed
  • 4 slices of orange cut round and thin from the center of the orange
  • 8 to othpicks


  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a baking dish with a whisk. Place the meat, breast side down in the mixture. Marinate for 3-4 hours, turning over every hour.
  • Preheat the oven to broil.
  • Place one orange slice on each breast and cover with the pancetta. Fasten them with a toothpick on each side.
  • Add butter to the baking dish with the marinade and place in the oven. Broil the birds breast side up, basting every 5 minutes, for 25 minutes. Remove the breasts and let them rest on a plate for 10 minutes. Put the baking dish back in the oven and let the sauce reduce for 5 minutes more.


  • Ted
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

    This looks amazing! I'm going to try it with some pheasant soon.

  • Screetch
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 11:23 am


  • RRubio
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    This looks amazining!

  • Amelia (ZTastyLife)
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Hello Giada! I am new to your blog. I was inspired to come over from Tartelette's post about your book. I JUST can;t wait to read your stories of artisans. Thank you for preserving their memories for all of us.

    • Post Author
      Posted November 7, 2010 at 8:54 am

      Hi Amelia! Nice to meet you and thank you : )

  • Jake M.
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Oh this looks awesome. I have to try it soon.

  • Steve M
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I use vermouth a lot with partridge and it has a nice flavor as well. Both are a good combo.

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