Partridge, Pear & Barley Stew

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Partridge, Pear & Barley Stew

Partridges and pears make a marvellous flavour pairing, adding gamey meatiness and floral sweetness to this wonderful winter stew, scented with fresh thyme and stuffed with nutty pearl barley and soft seasonal kale.


  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 250g partridge breasts
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 75g pearl barley
  • 2 pears
  • A handful of thyme
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 550ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 200g kale
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1. Peel and finely slice the onions. Peel and finely chop or crush the garlic cloves. Scrub the carrot and chop into fine dice (no need to peel unless you prefer to). Cut the pears into quarters and slice out the cores. Chop the pears into bite-size chunks.
2. Pour 1 tsp oil into a large pan and warm to a medium-high heat. Season the partridge breasts with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the partridge. Fry for 2 mins on each side, till golden brown. Lift the partridge breasts out of the pan and onto a plate and set aside.
3. Turn the heat under pan down to medium. Slide in the sliced onions, garlic and carrot. Fry for 8-10 mins, stirring often, till softened. If the pan starts to look a little dry, add 2 tbsp water.
4. Add the pearl barley to the pan, along with the sliced pears and the thyme sprigs. Crumble in the stock cube and pour in 550ml boiling water. Add 1 tbsp cider vinegar and stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 20-25 mins, till the barley is tender.
5. While the barley is cooking, strip the kale leaves from their thick stalks. Roughly shred the leaves.
6. When the barley is cooked, stir the shredded kale into the pan. Nestle in the partridge. Cover with the lid and cook for a further 5-6 mins, till the partridge is cooked through and the kale is wilted.
7. Taste the stew and add more salt or pepper if needed. Fish out the thyme sprigs, then ladle the stew into a couple of warm bowls and serve.
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