Pigeon with glazed carrots and herbs

The Roux Brothers join forces to cook a Sunday lunch dish they used to make for their mother
By Albert and Michel Roux
Pigeon with glazed carrots and herbs
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the pigeons

  • 4 young pigeons, trussed
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 knob butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 100 g lightly smoked back bacon lardons
  • 2 shallots, finely diced (optional)
  • 150 ml chicken stock, or water
  • 4 tbsp chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, flat-leaf parsley, thyme and hyssop

For the carrots

  • 750 g carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 pinch sugar

To serve

  • 1 bunch watercress

Tips and Suggestions

In spring, peas that you have cooked with coarsely shredded lettuce can be used instead of carrots.

For complete authenticity, choose pigeons from the Vendée or Bresse in France. Reserve the neck, wing tips and giblets, if available.

If liked, you can bard the pigeons with a fine layer of pork back fat.

Method

1. For the pigeons: preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/Gas 9. Season the cavities of the birds with salt and pepper (do not salt the skin). Heat the oil and butter in a flameproof casserole, add the pigeon trimmings and giblets (if available) then put in the pigeons and brown quickly on all sides.

2. Add the garlic, bacon and shallots (if using). Cover and transfer to the oven, cooking 14 minutes for pink, 16 minutes for medium or 20 minutes for well done. Take the casserole dish from the oven and leave to stand, still covered, for 15-20 minutes.

3. For the carrots: place the carrots in a pan, add the butter, sugar and a pinch of salt. Add enough water to just cover them, then top with a circle of crumpled greaseproof paper and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the water has evaporated.

4. Untruss the cooked pigeons, lay them breast-side down on a dish and keep warm. Pour off half the fat in the casserole, then return it to the hob and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock or water.

5. To make the birds easier to eat, open them up slightly by making a cut through the skin to slightly separate the legs from the breasts, then make cuts either side of the breast bones, taking them about half way down.

6. Place a bed of glazed carrots in each serving dish. Top with the pigeons and add the watercress to one side. At the last moment, stir the chopped herbs into the jus in the casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the bacon, garlic and sauce over the birds and serve.

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