Monday, 4 October 2010


I don't remember what it was I went into the butcher's for, but I came out with a couple of pigeons. I thought they would make a nice autumn supper, along with some roasted beetroot from the veg box.

To cook the pigeon, I removed the breasts, vacuum packed them with a drizzle of olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper, then dropped them into a 58℃ water bath where they spent about half an hour. [Edit: I cooked the breasts from the second pigeon at 54℃; these were much more succulent, so I'll stick with the lower temperature from now on.] After drying them on some kitchen towel and flash-frying a few seconds each side in a really hot pan, they were set aside to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, I chopped up the carcases and roasted them in a hot oven to give them some colour, then made a quick stock in the pressure cooker. In went the carcases along with a roughly chopped onion, carrot, celery stick, some leek tops, a bay leaf, black peppercorns, and a couple of crushed juniper berries. Enough chicken stock to cover, then on with the lid and slowly up to high pressure. After 30 minutes at high pressure the stock was ready for straining.

The rich sauce you see was made by gently frying a finely chopped shallot in some butter, then adding a glass of red wine and reducing until syrupy. Next a couple of ladlefuls of the hot stock, reducing some more, then straining. Finally, a teaspoon or so of finely grated Venezuelan Black 100% pure cacao and some seasoning.  Not bad for a Monday evening.

As an added bonus, the leftover stock and meat picked from the bones will make a delicious broth for lunch.

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