Roasted Squab with Peppermint Oil and Wild Mushroom Risotto
Peppermint oil is a rare commodity, but essential to the flavor of this dish, so a recipe is given. Store the oil refrigerated. Unused oil makes a great seasoning for lamb and chicken. Squabs are young pigeons, available fresh or frozen, whole bone-in, or boneless. Chef Neunkirchner debones whole squabs so that he can start by making a squab stock for Port wine-enriched gravy. Because squabs are fairly easy to debone, instructions are given, along with a recipe for the squab stock and gravy. But you can take a shortcut and use boneless squab and substitute a frozen veal demi-glace, reconstituted according to package directions. Heat the veal demi-glace with Port wine, in a ratio of 3 parts demi-glace to 1 part Port, and cook long enough to blend flavors and remove "raw" alcohol flavor.
- Squab with Peppermint Oil
- Squabs - 4, 12 to 14 ounces each, deboned
- Peppermint Oil - as needed (recipe below)
- Squab Stock - (see directions below)
- Wild Mushroom Risotto - (see recipe below)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
- Whole Cinnamon Sticks - 8
- Port Wine Gravy - (see directions below)
- Wild Mushroom Risotto
- Unsalted Butter - 2 Tablespoons
- Shallots - 2 large, chopped, divided
- Long Grain White Rice - 3/4 cup
- Wild Rice - 1/4 cup
- Dry white wine - 1/4 cup
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Freshly ground white pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 Tablespoons
- Wild mushrooms (chanterelles, sliced porcini) - 2 cups, cleaned
- Flat leaf parsley - 1 Tablespoon, chopped
- Fresh lemon juice - as needed
Using sharp boning knife, debone squabs by separating leg and thigh from carcass, and breast from rib cage. Cut wings from breasts. Debone thigh. Cut end joint off leg bone with cleaver and, using boning knife, push leg meat back, exposing leg bone. Use carcass, wings and trimmings to make Squab Stock (see recipe). Next make risotto (see recipe).
While risotto is cooking, lightly season all squab pieces on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a non-reactive baking pan, drizzle mint oil over squab pieces and turn to coat. Break four cinnamon sticks in half, then rub squab pieces on both sides with the cinnamon sticks. Place the squab breast halves skin side down in the baking pan. Place one-half cinnamon stick on the meat side of each. Top each with a thigh-leg piece.
While squab is marinating, place 2 tablespoons of peppermint oil in a saute pan large enough to hold one squab (2 breasts, 2 thigh-leg joints). Heat over medium with 1 cinnamon stick.
Raise heat to medium-high and brown squabs one at a time. Start by removing cinnamon sticks and letting excess peppermint oil drain off pieces. Place 2 breast halves and 2 thigh-leg joints skin side down in oil. When skin side is brown, remove squabs to separate baking pan. Repeat, adding whole cinnamon sticks, and, if necessary, a little peppermint oil, until all squabs have been browned. Roast in a preheated 375 degree F oven for four to five minutes. Squab should be quite rosy inside. Let squab rest for 4 minutes.
To serve: Divide Wild Mushroom Risotto into four equal portions. Place one portion each on center of four preheated plates. Place breasts in the middle and position thigh-legs on side. Garnish with one of the cinnamon sticks used in the saute pan (not the cinnamon used to marinate). Drizzle
lightly with some of the peppermint oil from the saute pan. Then drizzle lightly with a spoonful or two of the Port Wine Gravy. If desired, serve with a separate dish of green peas.
Quickly blanch for about 15 to 20 seconds in lightly salted boiling water 2 cups fresh mint leaves and stems. Drain and rinse under very cold running water. Spread on paper toweling and pat dry. Place mint in blender or food processor with 1/4 cup canola oil. Process to a smooth puree, turning off machine and cleaning sides of work bowl with rubber spatula as necessary. Add an additional 3/4 cup canola oil and process to blend well. Transfer to a clean pint jar with lid and let oil settle for 24 hours in a cool, dark place. When mint has settled to bottom of jar, filter the oil through a paper coffee filter lined drip cone set over a clean glass jar, pouring oil carefully off heaviest solids in bottom. Discard these. The oil will filter slowly. When it has filtered, store oil, tightly covered, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup.
Rinse carcass bones, wings and scraps from the deboned squabs. Place in a 4-quart saucepan, add cold water just to cover.Bring to a boil and reduce heat. With a large shallow spoon, skim and discard impurities and foam that rise to the top. After 30 minutes, add 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped; 1 carrot, peeled and chopped; 1 celery stock, trimmed and chopped, 4 parsley sprigs with stems, 4 sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 bay leaf. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until liquid has reduced by half. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve; discard solids.
Port Wine Gravy
Place strained stock in a small saucepan and reduce to desired consistency. Add Port Wine in a ratio of three parts stock to one part Port. Simmer to blend flavors and remove "raw" alcohol taste. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Heat butter until foaming but not brown in a 2-quart saucepan or saute pan. Add half of the shallots and cook over medium heat until translucent but not browned. Add rices, stirring to mix, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until rice is translucent. Deglaze pan by swirling with the wine. Bring to boil and add chicken stock, salt and pepper. Stir, then cover and let cook over low heat until liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, in sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add smaller mushrooms, the chanterelles, and saute, stirring, until they begin to release juices. Add sliced porcini, saute until cooked and add remaining half of the chopped shallots and saute until mushrooms are cooked and most of the juices have evaporated. Add the chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Combine mushrooms with cooked rice. Cover; keep warm.