Pigeon and Roquefort risotto, Asian pear and mushrooms à la Grecque

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You have to start your preparations the day before you serve this roast squab pigeon recipe, but the final dish certainly rewards royally. Ask your butcher for pigeon carcasses, or alternatively you can use a chicken carcass to make the aromatic stock.

First published in 2015
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Roast squab pigeon and risotto

Pressed Asian pear

Mushrooms à la Grecque

Squab pigeon sauce


Peel the Asian pear, cut it in half and remove the core. Place the pear halves in a sealable freezer bag with the lemon juice and sugar and leave for approximately 12 hours
For the mushrooms à la Grecque, add the olive oil, coriander seeds, shallots and 1 litre water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer
Place the mushrooms in the liquid, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. Slice the garlic, then add to the mix with the rosemary and thyme
Pour into a sterilised jar with a tightly fitting lid and leave to infuse for at least 12 hours, or until needed
For the squab pigeon sauce, add 50g of the butter to a hot frying pan or stockpot. Finely chop and add the pigeon bones, cooking until lightly browned
Remove the bones and drain the pan. Place the pan back on the heat and return the bones to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and heat until the liquid has completely evaporated, then add the brandy and reduce again until the liquid evaporates completely
  • 25ml of white wine
  • 25ml of brandy
Dice the vegetables and crush the juniper berry and white peppercorns. Add to the hot saucepan along with the garlic, herbs, star anise and 25g of butter, then sweat until soft but not coloured
Add the bones to the diced vegetable mix and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Cover the bones with the hot stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 5–10 minutes, skimming and tasting frequently
  • 500ml of chicken stock, hot
When the flavour from the pigeon has peaked, pass the sauce through a sieve into a jug or bowl. Cool immediately by placing the jug or bowl on ice
To make the roast squab pigeon and Roquefort risotto, preheat the oven to to 180°C/gas mark 4
Heat a frying pan and add 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Clean and truss the squab pigeons, season with salt and pepper and brown the birds in the hot pan until golden on all sides
Place the pigeons in the oven and cook for 6–7 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and allow to rest on a cooling rack
To make the risotto, heat the vegetable stock and keep warm at the side of the stove
  • 750ml of vegetable stock
Add the other 1 tbsp olive oil to a heavy saucepan, then tip in the onion, thyme, garlic and bay leaf and cook until the onion is translucent, but not coloured
Pour in the rice and use a wooden spoon to mix it into the onion. You should start to hear the rice crack. Once this happens, add the white wine, followed by a ladleful of stock, then stir
Make sure the rice has fully absorbed the stock before you add another ladleful. Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is tender and cooked through
Remove the pan from the heat and start to beat the butter into the rice. Add the Roquefort cheese and season with salt and black pepper
To finish the pigeon, remove the legs and breasts of each pigeon and carefully trim, removing the thigh bones
Before plating, drain the oil from the mushrooms and remove the pear halves from the juice and slice
Spoon the risotto onto the plates, arrange the pigeon on top and drizzle over the pigeon sauce. Garnish each dish with a slice of Asian pear and the mushrooms à la Grecque. Sprinkle over some micro celery leaves and serve immediately
First published in 2015

Shaun Rankin’s cooking exudes effortless self-confidence.

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