December 25, 2018 – THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS

There wasn’t a pear tree for miles, but a pair of gray partridge (not the two feathered birds pictured, figuratively thumbing their noses at me as they pecked at roadside gravel, but rather the un-feathered ones in the second photo) made a festive meal. I modified slightly a recipe I found in THE GAME COOKBOOK by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Johnny Scott: “Broiled Partridge with Garlic, Oil, Lemon and Cayenne.”) The book was given to me by Malcolm Brooks, a serious bird hunter and gifted novelist. You can check out his first book, Painted Horses, here. His second novel is called Cloudmaker, and it should be out later this year. They are both excellent tales of the New West (new = 1950’s.) Think Cormac McCarthy, only better.

Partridges (recipe calls for 4, I had only a brace), spatchcocked
Marinate the birds for 1-3 hours in 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 4 cloves mashed garlic.
Take them from the marinade, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle them with cayenne. The recipe calls for them to be broiled for 15-20 minutes, but that depends of course on the method of broiling. I grilled them over a hot mesquite fire for about 12 minutes total, basting and turning them from time to time. DO NOT OVERCOOK. These little birds are precious, and you can’t buy them at Walmart.