Seared Local Pigeon with Parsnip and Bacon Crisp

Serving size: 2
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

4 pigeon breasts
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
25ml rapeseed oil
2 slices Parma ham
1 parsnip, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon honey
25g butter
50ml red wine jus
2 medium chanterelle mushrooms
Rosemary salt
Micro celery to serve

Jus ingredients:
4 pigeon carcasses
3 chicken carcasses – either save these in your freezer after those tasty weekly roasts or ask your butcher.
1/2 onion
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic
1 carrot
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 large mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1/2 bottle red wine
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

Featured in:
October 2016

Ask your butcher to take the breast off the bone and leave on the skin, as this will add a delicious flavour to the dish, protect the breast when cooking and adds extra texture.

In a sealable plastic bag, place 20ml oil, garlic and rosemary and the pigeon breasts. Seal and leave in the fridge overnight.

Place the Parma ham between two sheets of greaseproof paper and place onto a baking tray with another on top to compress ham. Place in a 150ºC oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the tray from the top and place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes to crispen, before removing and leaving to cool.

Cook the parsnip quarters in boiling water for 2 minutes before plunging into a bowl of iced water. This will stop the cooking process and it will be ready to add to your pan and reheat later.

Lightly clean the mushrooms with a damp J cloth, cut in half and leave to one side. Chanterelles are currently in season, but if you can’t get hold of them, oyster or shiitake will do the job.

Heat a heavy based frying pan with the remaining oil and place the pigeon breasts skin side down. Season with a pinch of rosemary salt and cook for two minutes on a medium heat. Turn the breasts and add the parsnip to the pan, pouring over the garlic and rosemary that was used to marinate the pigeon. Add the butter and baste the bird, to ensure it’s cooked through and packed full of the delicious flavours from the pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes before removing from the pan and leaving to rest for 2-3 minutes.

In a small pan, gently heat 50ml of jus, before adding a teaspoon of honey to the frying pan with the parsnip still cooking and add the mushrooms, cooking for a few seconds before removing all of the ingredients from the pan, ready to plate.

To plate, place the parsnips on the dish, slice the pigeon and add the mushrooms, drizzling over some of the delicious, meaty jus. Top each of the dishes with a slice of Parma ham and add a pinch of micro celery to garnish.

Prepare your jus the day before when your marinading your breasts, as this will take a while to make, but it’s well worth it as the taste is incredibly rich and meaty. Roast the chicken and pigeon bones in a 200ºC oven for 40 minutes. This will colour the bones and draw out any excess fat. Discard the fat and add the onion, celery, garlic, carrot, tomatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme and cover with water. Place over one or two hobs, depending on the size of the pan and bring to the boil, before simmering for 10 hours. During this time, every hour or so, remove any fats or impurities that rise to the surface. If it reduces too much, keep on topping up with water, to make sure the bones are constantly covered.

Pass the liquid through a muslin cloth, discarding the bones and vegetables and saving any liquid into a heavy based saucepan. To the liquid add red wine and redcurrant jelly. Reduce by two thirds, by simmers for around 2 hours until it’s thickened and gravy like. Test this by placing a little bit onto a plate.

To finish, pass through a fine sieve. This recipe will make enough for around 10-12 portions. To store for leftovers, freeze into ice cube moulds and remove from the freezer when you’re ready to use.

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