Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pigeons with red wine sauce

Yesterday Wil and I were incredibly lucky at Galerie Lafayette. The woman in the meat section was kind of confused and sold us two pigeons for the price of two corn-fed chicken. Sounds weird? Yeah, that's what we thought as well, when we went to a market a couple of weeks ago where they wanted to sell us two tiny pigeons for almost 30€. Pigeons and doves, or so-called squab (for less association issues), seem to be ridiculously expensive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not considering eating those sick and scruffy looking city pigeons. But pigeons are everywhere on the countryside and should be quite easy prey. I don't understand why they have to be more expensive than corn-fed chicken...Well, the ones you buy are most often bred. So that may be why. But still...

Anyways. We got two for less than 9 bucks. So we went home, filleted the breasts and legs and removed hearts and livers from the carcasses.

From the carcasses, wings and organs we made a stock. We browned the carcasses and wings in a big pot with some olive oil and deglazed them with 250ml red wine. We then added water and some leftover game stock until everything was covered by liquid, added the chopped up organs as well as 1tsp dried thyme, 2 rosemary twigs, 2 juniper berries, 2 bay leaves, 1 big crushed garlic clove and a dash of nutmeg, pepper and all-spice and let it simmer for 60 minutes with lid closed.
We then strained everything to separate the stock from the bones and spices.
Afterwards we reduced the stock to make a sauce to serve with the pigeons. We didn't use all of the stock for it. That would have been to much. A third of the total amount should be enough. After reducing I seasoned it with salt and for a bit of sweetness added 1/2 to 1 tsp of red currant jelly.
To thicken the sauce and in order to make it richer (pigeon meat is very lean) I also stirred in some small ice-cold cubes of butter in the end.

While making the sauce we fired up our cast iron pan to medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil two rosemary twigs and another slightly crushed garlic clove. Once the oil was hot enough we placed the breasts and the legs in the pan and fried them for a total of 5-6 minutes; 3 minutes on the skin side to give it a nice sear and 2 to 3 minutes from the other side.
It's important that the meat is still medium rare. Otherwise the meat gets too tough. In France they even it their pigeons raw.

Let the breasts and legs rest for another 5-10 minutes before serving. We wrapped ours in aluminium foil for that. 

Serve with the sauce and pair of heavy red wine. The meat of pigeons is a bit like duck meat, just with less fat. It's very dark in color and has a gamey and quite organy flavor to it..

PS: We had chive and sour cream mashed potatoes with it and a glass of French Malbec.

PPS: I'm sorry for the crappy photos. Unfortunately my beloved camera broke and therefore iPhone it is for now...

1 comment:

  1. I remembered my first time to eat a pigeon on my parents family friend's wedding. At the reception I told my mom why is my chicken so small. My dad told me it is a pigeon that's why it is small. I only ate a portion. It doesn't look and taste delicious like your recipe =)