Roast squab pigeon ‘Pierre Orsi’

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The Chef Book

  • Yield: 4 Servings


Pigeon sauce
  • 500 g fresh pigeon bones use trimmings and backbones from the fresh pigeons you intend to cook
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50 ml Armagnac
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 450 ml veal stock
  • 5 juniper berries
  • Sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chicken stock
  • 1 chicken, ideally a boiling fowl, weighing 1.5 kg or an equal weight of fresh chicken carcasses or wings
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 150 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bouquet garni a large bay leaf, thyme sprig, rosemary sprig and some parsley stalks tied together
Roast squab pigeon
  • 4 squab pigeons, about 600 g each
  • 200 ml pigeon sauce
  • 12 cloves rose garlic
  • 300 ml duck fat
  • 120 g wild rice
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 1 small Savoy cabbage
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  • 8 large oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic confit
  • A knob of butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
    Roast squab pigeon
  1. Cut off the legs from the pigeon so you have a ‘crown’ of breasts still attached to the rib cage and put legs into a pan with the garlic and duck fat.
  2. Cook the legs melt the duck fat over a gentle heat and then bring to the boil.
  3. Cover and place at the edge of a very low hob ring so it remains at about 90˚C for 45 minutes.
  4. Allow the legs to cool in the fat then remove and wipe off excess fat.
  5. Cook the wild rice, by placing in a small saucepan with the stock.
  6. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for about 40-45 minutes until tender and many of the grains have burst open. Drain and set aside.
  7. Quarter the cabbage and remove the cores. Take the medium green leaves from the cabbage and remove all of the veins from them and shred all the leaves.
  8. Put the shredded cabbage into a pan of boiling water to blanch it for 30 seconds. Add the teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to help keep the cabbage green.
  9. Drain and return to the pan with a spoonful or two of the duck fat from the pigeon legs. Season and keep warm.
  10. When ready to cook the pigeon breast, heat the oven to 190˚C, Gas 5.
  11. Heat a little more of the duck fat in a frying pan and seal the crowns of the bird with the breasts still attached, pressing the skin down to golden brown.
  12. Place in a small roasting pan, season and roast for about 5 minutes. Reheat the legs at the same time.
  13. Remove the breasts from the oven, rub with a knob of butter and rest for 5 minutes. Use a small, sharp knife to cut off each breast.
  14. Using the roasting pan with the juices, quickly sauté the mushrooms until just softened and then season.
  15. Pigeon sauce
  16. Vigorously fry the pigeon bones in the oil in a large saucepan.
  17. Pour off the fat and deglaze with Armagnac until evaporated away then stir in the red wine.
  18. Boil until reduced by about a third then add the veal stock, juniper, thyme and bay.
  19. Check the seasoning. Simmer for about 10 minutes then strain and serve hot.
  20. Chicken stock
  21. Put the chicken or carcasses in a saucepan and cover with 2.5 litres cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then immediately lower the heat and keep at a simmer.
  22. After 5 minutes, skim the surfaces using a slotted spoon then add all the other ingredients.
  23. Cook gently for 1 ½ hours, without boiling, skimming every half hour, or as necessary, until you have about 1 litre.
  24. Strain the stock through a wire mesh conical sieve, which can be lined with a wet muslin cloth, and cool it as quickly as possible.

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