Five-Spice Chile-Tea Rubbed Partridge with Grilled Fennel and Wild Mushroom Orzo 'Risotto'

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Tea Rub:

8 tablespoons lapsang souchong tea

2 tablespoons losher salt

1 tablespoon chile flakes

1 tablespoon chipotle powder

1 tablespoon roasted garlic, dried

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, dried and ground

1 tablespoon green onion flakes, dried

1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 tablespoon dried kaffir lime zest

2 small partridges, prepped, skin on, head-off, butterflied with back bone removed

1 large fennel bulb

1/2 cup sliced green scallions, for garnish

Salt and pepper

Grapeseed oil, to cook

Orzo Risotto, recipe follows

Orzo 'Risotto':

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

4 shallots, cut into very small dice, about 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

4 cups chanterelles, wiped clean, cut in half or quartered if very large, otherwise left whole, plus 1 cup more for Crispy Chanterelle garnish

2 cups dry orzo

4 cups hot chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Truffle oil, to garnish

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a small bowl, combine the tea, salt, chile flakes, chipotle, garlic, cayenne pepper, green onion flakes, Chinese five spice, and lime zest. Coat both sides of the partridge with the tea spice, reserving 1 tablespoon for the fried mushroom garnish.
  2. Slice the fennel bulb lengthwise, brush with the grapeseed oil, and season with the salt and pepper. (If fennel bulb is very large, pre-blanch it in boiling salted water for 5 minutes so it doesn't burn on the grill before being cooked through.)
  3. Place the partridge and the fennel side by side on a hot, well-oiled grill, and cook for about 8 to 12 minutes a side. Be careful to move the partridge around if/when there are flare-ups.
  4. Plating: On a large platter place a small mound of the 'risotto' in the middle of the bowl. Place bird on top and arrange the fennel around the bird. Drizzle with the truffle oil and garnish with crispy chanterelles and chopped scallions.
  5. Beverage: Brickhouse Gamay-Noir

Orzo 'Risotto':

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers add the shallots, garlic, and orzo. Saute, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add a ladleful of the stock and continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add more stock and continue to cook and stir, allowing each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding the next, until the orzo is cooked through and has a creamy, risotto-like consistency, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir to heat through. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toss the flour with a tablespoon of the remaining tea spice mix. Toss the remaining cup of chanterelles in the flour to coat them lightly, then deep fry in hot canola oil for 1 to 2 minutes until brown and crisp on the edges.
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