This is a lovely, simple chukar recipe for roast chukar, brined overnight to keep it juicy. This same recipe works with partridge, quail, small grouse and Cornish game hens.
Let me stress that while I designed this as a chukar recipe, a chukar is just another partridge, which is just another small cousin of the chicken. So your experience with chicken will come in handy.
Like chicken, chukars can get dry in a hurry. That’s why I advise brining the birds overnight before roasting. It will give you wiggle room in the roasting process without making the bird a desiccated mess.
You will, ideally, serve one chukar or similar bird per person, or two quail or woodcock, or maybe just one pheasant for two people. But a chukar is a great single serving game bird.
Obviously this is for a plucked chukar. If you skin your chukars, I don’t advise this recipe. Try using chukars in recipes like my pheasant and dumplings, or pound the breasts out into cutlets for wiener schnitzel, or make chukar stock, and then use the meat shredded off the carcasses to make a batch of chukar taquitos.
Back to this chukar recipe. You don’t have to brine, and I don’t anymore because I’ve roasted a lot of small game birds. The tradeoff is crispy skin; it’s harder to get that perfectly crisp skin with a brined bird, but an unbrined bird can dry out more easily.
Under no circumstances do you want the breast meat of a chukar or similar bird to get above 155F. This is fully cooked, but with a blush of pink. I prefer 150F. This is perfectly safe with wild birds; no one gets salmonella from wild chukars.
To be perfectly honest, my preferred method of cooking partridges, quail and chukars is to pan roast them. Here is my method for pan roasted chukar.
As for a sauce for this chukar recipe, it’s up to you. I really like this apple-based sauce with apple brandy and cider vinegar. But a traditional Cumberland sauce would be nice here, too.