Cut the backbone out of one of the
partridges using a strong pair of kitchen
scissors or poultry shears. Turn the bird
over, then use your bodyweight and
press down on the middle of the breast
with the heel of your hand, until the
partridge flattens out. Repeat.
Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan.
Season the birds with salt and pepper,
then brown them quickly – 2 at a time –
in the pan. Lift out, and set aside.
Mix the cider with the honey, reserve
one-third of the mix, then tip the rest into
the pan to deglaze. Stir in the stock, then
reduce the liquid down for 5 mins or until
you have a syrupy sauce. Season to taste.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Pop
the squash into a mixing bowl, toss with
most of the thyme, seasoning, a little of
the reserved cider mix and 1 tbsp olive
oil. Tip onto a non-stick baking tray, then
roast for 30 mins.
Now toss the partridges in what’s left
of the cider mix. Grind lots of black
pepper over and scatter with a good
sprinkling of salt. Nestle the partridges
amongst the squash, breast-side up.
Sprinkle with a little more thyme. Roast
for 15 mins, then remove the birds and
let them rest. Turn off the oven and keep
the squash warm. Cut the birds into
quarters and serve on top of a pile of
squash. Drizzle around a little of the sauce
and scatter with a little thyme, to serve.