Squab pigeon with pickled cabbage a sweet garlic butter sauce

Aiden Byrne

Aiden Byrne

5th December 2010

Squab pigeon with pickled cabbage a sweet garlic butter sauce

Squab pigeon with pickled cabbage a sweet garlic butter sauce

Ingredients

  • To serve 4 portions
  • 2 - 550 gram squab pigeons (ensure the legs are fully in tact and not broken)
  • ½ white cabbage
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 300 ml of duck fat
  • 150 ml of white wine vinegar
  • 1 recipe of pigeon mousse
  • 1 recipe of sweet garlic butter sauce
  • 1 recipe of pigeon sauce
  • 12 slices of Ventreche bacon
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large Desiree potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of shallot confit
  • 50 grams of foie gras
  • 20 ml of balsamic vinegar
  • A good handful of parsley stalk and thyme (tied together with string)
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 3 cloves of garlic (sliced)

Method

Method
Pickled cabbage
Slice the white cabbage and the onion as finely as possible (ideally using a mandolin)
Place a large pan of water on to boil, with a good handful of salt.
Heat up another large pan and add 200 ml of duck fat.
Cook the onions in the fat without colour, add the juniper berries, sliced garlic, parsley stalks and thyme.
Blanch the cabbage in the boiling salted water and transfer immediately to the cooked onions.
Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, add the white wine vinegar and reduce by half with out the lid.
Add the white wine and cook for 1 hour, season with sea salt if needed.
The pickled cabbage will benefit from being made a couple of days in advance.
Preparing the pigeons
Now the somewhat daunting preparation of the pigeon. Firstly cut the head and neck away.
Turn the bird upside down and run your knife right down the backbone.
Turn it over again and cut the skin between the leg and the breast, dislocate the tibia bone from the carcass and remove all the skin and the leg away from the carcass.
The idea is to keep as much skin as possible attached to the legs.
Cut away all but the middle pigeon toe and remove any left over feathers.
Lay out the legs with the skin side facing down, remove the tibia bone with a small knife and set aside.
Remove the wing from the breast leaving the first (humerus) bone attached to the breast.
Trim away the tip of the wing (metacarpus) and keep this for the stock.
You should now be left with the middle bone of the wing (radius and ulna).
Remove the back from the carcass so you are just left with the crown.
Set aside.
Open up the carcass of the bird and remove the livers, finely dice the livers and set aside.
Cooking the pigeons
Dice the foie gras and the 8 slices of the Ventreche bacon. In a hot frying pan add the bacon dice and cook for 1-2 minutes, add the diced foie gras, the diced pigeon livers and give a good stir.
Season with salt and the balsamic vinegar, stir in the shallot confit and set aside to cool.
When cool spoon this mixture into the centre of the boned out legs and wrap the excess skin around the mixture to form the shape of your finger.
Wrap these fingers in cling film and tie the end into a knot to secure the filling.
Now place the wrapped and stuffed pigeon legs and the pigeon wings into the duck fat and cook for a minimum of 3 hours on as low a heat as possible.
After 1 hour add the garlic cloves into the duck fat before you remove the wings.
Once the wings are cooked you will be able to simply push the two bones out (this may seem like a lot of work but it is an example of how you can use up the whole animal and of course you could skip it altogether if you like).
Place the stuffed legs onto a wire rack with another tray underneath to catch any excess duck fat, remove the cling film with a pair of scissors and re-wrap the pigeon legs to keep the shape, refrigerate and allow the meat to set into shape. Once set remove the cling film.
Season the crowns heavily with salt and pepper and place into a small, hot frying pan and seal them on both sides. This will take about 3 minutes.
Now finish the cooking in an oven at 180oc, breast side down, for 10 minutes and then leave the crowns to rest for at least 10 minutes to rest.
Feed the peeled potato through a mandolin with a fine shredder attachment, wrap the potato around the pigeon legs and place in the fryer until golden brown, cut the bottom away so the leg can stand up.
Re-heat the pigeon crowns for a couple of minutes and with the cooked birds sitting on your board with the b*****s facing upwards, run your knife down either side of the breastbone, keeping as close to the bone as possible.
Simply peel the breast away from the carcass using the knife to help ease the meat away.
When you reach the wing bone, ensure that this bone comes away with the breast.
Serving the dish
Place the mousse onto 4 plates and spoon the sweet garlic butter sauce over each one.
Sit the pickled cabbage on the plates and place the pigeon breast on top, re-heat the pigeon sauce with the garlic confit and the pigeon wing inside, arrange them on the plates, spoon the sauce over the breast and dress with the ventreche bacon crisp.