- Yield: 4 Servings
For the Squabs
- 2 (about 1-pound) whole squabs
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, bruised
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
For the Compote
- 4 ounces dried black Mission figs
- 1 ounce dried plums
- 1 ounce dried cherries
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) aged red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Cocoa Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 ounce sliced prosciutto, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon Mayan cocoa powder
- 2 cups (1 pint) Dark Chicken Stock
How to Make It
To Poach the Squabs
- First place the squabs, butter, garlic, and thyme in a gallon zipper-lock plastic bag but don’t zip the bag shut.
- Bring a stockpot half full of water to just below a simmer, approximately 200°F.
- Lower the open bag into the hot water, watching out for your fingers. The water squeezes the air out of the bag. Seal the bag when the water is within ¼ inch of the zipper seal.
- Poach the squabs in the water, maintaining the cooking temperature at 195°F–200°F for 20 minutes.
- While the squabs poach, make an ice bath.
- Remove the bag from the water and chill in the ice bath until completely cold, then refrigerate sealed until needed. To Make the Dried Fruit Compote
- Combine the dried figs, plums, cherries, wine, and wine vinegar in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree.
- Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the compote into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed. To Make the Cocoa Sauce
- Warm the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, prosciutto, and garlic. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cocoa and cook for about 1 minute, until you smell the toasted aroma.
- Pour in the chicken stock, stir, and reduce the mixture by half. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Keep the sauce warm on low heat if using shortly. If you are making it ahead, refrigerate covered until needed. To Cook the Squab
- Remove the squabs from the plastic bag and dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. With a chef’s knife or cleaver, slice the squabs in half lengthwise, cutting down through the breastbone and backbone of each.
- Warm a good ¼ inch of oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add the squab halves, a skin-side down, and sauté until the skin is nicely browned, 2–3 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook an additional 2–3 minutes. The breast meat should still be rosy.
- Remove the squabs from the pan and let them rest for a minute. Slice each squab half into 2 pieces, one with the breast and wing section, one with the leg section. Putting it all Together
- Place a spoonful of fruit compote in the center of each of 4 plates and top with 2 pieces of squab, a breast and a leg section. Spoon cocoa sauce around the plates. Garnish with greens and serve.