The sauce I chose to go with this recipe is an apple-based one; I like the combination of "chickeny" birds and apples. You make the sauce at the end, while the chukars are resting, so have everything ready to go before you get to that point. Serve this with polenta or mashed potatoes.
3tablespoonsdemi-glace, or 1 cup stock,boiled down by half
3tablespoonsCalvados or other apple brandy
Pinch of salt
Get your tap water as hot as it'll go and pour 4 cups of it over the salt. Stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature. Submerge the birds in the brine, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Remove the partridges and pat them dry. Let them sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 450°F. Because I often brine overnight, I sit the birds out uncovered in the fridge all day to dry. This helps a lot with crispy skin.
Stick a quarter of a lemon into each bird. Lightly salt the birds; they'll already be a little salty from the brine, so don't go overboard.
Get a cast-iron pan or other oven-proof pan and lay down the celery stalks -- these are to keep the partridges up off the bottom of the pan. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness with a thermometer. You want the thick part of the breast to be about 150 to 155°F.
Remove the birds to a cutting board to rest, then put the pan on the stove. Turn the heat on to medium and remove the celery. Remember it's hot, so use a mitt!
Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the shallots until the begin to brown. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cook down by half and turn off the heat.
Serve the sauce over mashed potatoes or polenta and under the chukars. I prefer a big white wine with this, like a Chardonnay or a white Cotes du Rhone.