Saturday, December 10, 2005

Seared Pigeon Breasts in Sweet Wine

Seared Pigeon Breasts in Sweet Wine, with Rosemary-Infused Chestnuts

Serves 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 35 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
12 pigeon breasts
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
½ tbsp chopped rosemary
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
375ml bottle dessert wine

Rosemary-Infused chestnuts
200g vacuum-packed whole chestnuts
150ml olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary, bruised

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the carrot and onion until soft and slightly coloured. Leave to cool completely.

Put the pigeon into a bowl or plastic bag with the onion and carrot, the chilli, rosemary, garlic, seasoning, 2 tbsp olive oil and the wine. Cover or seal. Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook the pigeon breasts, drain from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a pan, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 20 minutes or until reduced by half. A foam will develop initially but this will disperse. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.

Meanwhile, put the chestnuts in a saucepan, cover with olive oil and add the rosemary. Heat up very gently until the oil is warm but not hot. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat until smoking. In batches, sear the pigeon breasts for 3 minutes each side (they should still be pink). Serve with the sauce and the chestnuts.