Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rough Puff Pastry

125g strong plain flour
tsp fine sea salt
125g butter , at room temperature, but not soft
75ml cold water

1] Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely. You need to see bits of butter.

2] Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge.

3] Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don't overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.

4] Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.

Leftover trimmings should be stacked up and chilled or frozen for another use. Don't scrunch them together in a ball or you will lose the layers. To re-roll, allow to come back to room temperature.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pan Fried Pigeon Breasts with Orange Zest Sauce

Serves 2

2 Whole Pigeons
Unsalted Butter
1 Onion, chopped finely
1 Carrot, diced
1 Clove garlic, chopped
2 Oranges for their grated Zest and Juice
Lemon Juice
1 Fresh Bay Leaf
(Carrot, Onion, Peppercorns and Bay Leaf for a stock)

1] Remove the breasts from the birds (Try and keep the skin intact on the breasts). Put the remains in a pot with some Onion, Carrot, Peppercorns and a Bay Leaf to get a stock going. (The stock can be used to enhance your sauce later if you like).

2] Heat some Oil and Butter over a low heat and sweat the Onions and Carrots off until they soften. Add the Garlic near the end of this process to cook through a little. (I had the oven on, so I roasted the Garlic and just squeezed the Garlic out of the cloves into the Onions).

3] Zest and juice the Oranges and add to the Onions with a dash of Lemon Juice and the Bay Leaf. Gently simmer until it reduces to a good sauce for the Pigeon.

4] Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and crack some pepper in. This seasons and also tells you when the oil is hot enough as you will see bubbles around the pepper. Lay the Pigoen in gently and fry for two minutes each side. Use your fingers to test for doneness, then take them out of the pan and let them rest in a warm oven.

5] Finish off your sauce and serve with whatever veg you like.

I roasted off a Squash and steamed some Cabbage, good earthy flavours to go with the Pigeon.

Orange-Braised Pigeon

Serves 2

2 Whole Pigeons
Unsalted Butter
50 gm Onion, chopped finely
1 Clove garlic, chopped
1 Dessertspoons grated Orange Rind
6 Dessertspoons fresh Orange Juice
2 Dessertspoons fresh Lemon Juice
1 Fresh Bay Leaf

1] Press firmly down on the breasts of the pigeons to snap the rib cages and flatten them slightly. Cut out the back bones with kitchen scissors, leaving the rest of the ribs and the legs on, and open the pigeons as flat as possible. Trim off loose pieces of skin and pat dry all over.

2] Melt some butter over a medium heat and lightly brown the pigeon. Set them aside.

2]  and cook the chopped onion and garlic until soft, but avoid browning.

3] Add the orange rind and citrus juices and continue cooking uncovered until most of the juices have evaporated.

4] Push the onion to one side
Redistribute the onion, turn the pigeon breasts uppermost and add the bay leaf; then cover and braise over a medium to low heat for 35-45 minutes, basting with the orange butter from time to time.

About 15 minutes before serving, wash and slice the greens thinly and cook in a little boiling salted water until wilted and soft, but still a bright green. Arrange in a circle on two hot plates. Place a pigeon in the middle of each and then strain the cooking liquid (discarding the onions) over the greens.