Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pan-fried Breasts of Wood Pigeon

Pan-fried Breasts of Wood Pigeon, served with Red Wine Sauce and Blueberries
Raymond Blanc


4 wood pigeons, breasts removed
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
15 g (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Marinade:
2 tablespoons red wine
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon groundnut oil

For the Sauce:
chopped pigeon carcasses
4 tablespoons groundnut oil
1/4 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1/4 celery stalk, diced
1 tablespoon plain flour
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) port
300 ml (10 fl oz) full-bodied red wine
1 sprig of thyme
1 juniper berry
1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly

For the Garnish:
80 g (3 1/4 oz) blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water

COOKING TIME: 40 minutes

1) Marinating the pigeon breasts
Mix the ingredients for the marinade together. Turn the breasts of pigeon over in the marinade. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours.

2) Making the sauce
In a large casserole, brown the pigeon carcasses in very hot oil for about 5-6 minutes. Add the diced vegetables and continue to brown for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, spoon out any fat, sprinkle with the flour and stir. Add the port and red wine and top up with water until the pigeon carcasses are completely covered.

Bring to the boil, skim off any impurities, and add the thyme and juniper berry. simmer for half an hour, then strain and boil to reduce down until the sauce has reached the right consistency (about 200 ml/7 fl oz in volume). Taste, season with salt and pepper and add the redcurrant jelly, then reserve.

3) Cooking the blueberry garnish
In a small saucepan mix together the blueberries, sugar and water. Cook over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes. Reserve and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) Gas 5.

4) Cooking the pigeon breasts
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until very hot. Pat dry, sear and brown the pigeon breasts for 30 seconds on each side. Pat dry, season with salt and pepper and cook in the preheated oven for a further 3 minutes.

Remove the breasts from the oven and rest in a warm place for 2-3 minutes, loosely covered with aluminium foil.

5) Serving
Reheat the sauce. Warm a large serving dish. Remove the skin from the breasts and put aside. Place the breasts on the serving dish, pour over the sauce and scatter the warm blueberries around. Serve to your guests.

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