Pigeon breasts with red wine sauce
Don’t be afraid of serving this to small children – my two loved it and thought it was just as nice as fillet steak. Pigeon breasts are lean, tasty and not overly expensive. They are quick to cook and look great for dinner guests but are accessible enough for a leisurely Saturday lunch. I served this with creamy mashed potato and broccoli but it would also go really well with a pile of crunchy chips! Please note, although it may go against the grain to serve a bird anything but well done, this really does need to be no more than medium rare or it will be devilishly tough!
300g pigeon breasts
250ml red wine
40ml dark rum
3 juniper berries, squashed
2 teaspoons light olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 rashers smoked bacon, diced
Half a beef stock cube, dissolved in 300ml boiling water
20g cold butter, cubed
1) First, place the wine, rum and berries in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then allow it to reduce by half.
2) In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion and bacon until well browned. Add a little pepper then the reduced wine and the stock. Bring this to the boil and skim off any residue which rises to the surface. Simmer this for 35 minutes and then pass through a sieve into a saucepan.
3) Bring the sauce back to the boil and reduce again until slightly thickened and syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4) Brush a non-stick frying pan liberally with light olive oil and heat until nice and hot. Season the pigeon breasts lightly with salt and pepper, then place them skin-side down in the pan. Give them 4 minutes on that side, then turn over and cook for a further 4 minutes. This should give you meat which is medium-rare.
5) Bring the sauce back to a simmer, then take off the heat and whisk in the butter. Slice the meat thickly on the plate and spoon over some of the sauce. The rest should be put on the table for those who decide they want more.......
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