Pigeon with Bunratty Mead
Here’s a recipe for squab — pigeon, available in most large supermarkets. Use chicken or quail if you wish, but this is probably the best excuse you’ll ever have to try squab if you haven’t already. Mead is a liquor distilled from honey, and it adds its own silky taste to this smooth dish. Wild rice, herbed salad, and fruit chutneys would be excellent accompaniments.
- Squabs - 2, large
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Shallots - 2
- Bunratty mead - 1/4 cup (alt. other good mead)
- Cinnamon - Pinch, ground
- Almonds - 8, lightly roasted
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Season the birds with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the birds for 5 minutes on each side, and 3 minutes on their backs. Remove the squabs from the skillet and place in an ovenproof pan; return the skillet and drippings to the stove. Roast the squabs for 15 – 20 minutes, until the juices run clear and the breast meat springs back slightly when touched.
In the skillet in which the squabs were seared, saute the shallots over medium heat until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and cook until the juices are a light fawn color. Increase the heat to medium-high and, when the mixture starts to bubble quickly, pour in the mead and stir up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the juices have reduced by two-thirds. Whisk in the butter. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and stir in the almonds.
To serve: Remove the legs and breast meat from the birds and arrange on a hot plate. Pour the hot sauce over the meat.