The slightly horrified look on Ingrid’s face when I bought this bird told me I’d better do a good job cooking it!  I can understand the hesitancy.  The rather disparaging nickname for pigeons of “flying rats” has no doubt contributed to their being a polarising food choice, and I have many friends who have baulked at the idea of eating them.  There’s also the fact that squab (the usual food name for pigeon) is usually served quite rare, which is confronting for many people; that is, to be served a bird rare when we are all aware of the inherent risks in undercooking other birds.  Nonetheless, I persuaded Ingrid to let me have a go.

So what to do with it?  My answer was: not much.  Squab is a very flavoursome, gamey meat and doesn’t need much tricking up to offer a generous flavour.  I decided to roast it, but the choice of what to serve it with required some though.  I decided on a mushroom medley, finished with squab jus and butter.

The squab was browned in a pan and then roasted in a hot oven (250°C) for just 6 minutes, and then rested for about 15 minutes, covered in foil.

You can see in this picture that I cut the skin at the leg joint to allow the legs to fall open a little, which helps make sure they cook sufficiently given the short time on the oven.  The cavity was stuffed with thyme, while the wing tips and neck went into the squab jus prepared earlier to go into the mushrooms.

Once well rested, the breasts were removed and sliced, and the legs removed whole.

That’s just how I wanted them.  Rare but evenly cooked.  I might dare to prepare it a little rarer next time, but as a first run this was a good result.

The sliced breast and leg were served atop the mushroom medley, which comprised Swiss Brown, Oyster, and Black Fungus (wood ear mushroom), finished with the jus, butter, and parsley.

This was delicious.  The only problem was that it really only made an entree sized dish.  I wanted to buy two squabs, but Ingrid talked me down to one, since she was quite dubious and they were comparatively expensive.  Not to worry, there’s always some nice cheese in our fridge…

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