Thursday, 14 October 2010
Roast pigeon, celeriac mash, hazelnuts, blackberry sauce
A bit of a variation on yesterday's game and fruit theme. It's really just a series of vague ideas that I had put together on a plate, but I think it works quite nicely. You often find pigeon breasts together with hazelnuts in salads, and I quite like the idea of pigeon and blackberry, given that the pigeon probably nibbled on a few in its lifetime. Celeriac mash goes very well with game; I think it's something about the earthiness and slight sweetness of it that can match strong flavours.
If you desire to make this, it's pretty simple. For the mash, put equal amounts of cubed celeriac (don't even bother unless you have a good sharp knife, they're a nightmare to cut up and peel) and potato in a pan and boil until tender, then mash with a bit of milk, butter, thyme and seasoning. For the pigeon, put a couple of sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf inside the pigeon. Get an ovenproof pan really hot with some butter and oil, and brown the pigeon on all sides (the smell and sizzling noise is amazing). Then cover (I use a casserole dish with a lid) and put in a hot (180C+) oven for about 10-15 minutes. I'm really bad at timing roasting pigeon and always overcook it by mistake - it is ready when it is still bloody. Normally it looks too bloody so I put it back in, and end up with it slightly overdone. If it's still bleeding, it's probably ready - it'll cook a bit more while you're resting it to make the sauce.
For the sauce, put the pigeon pan (take the pigeons out) back on the hob and pour in a good splash of red wine. It should sizzle. Add a spoonful of redcurrant jelly, a sprig of thyme and a handful of blackberries. Let it bubble until the berries have softened - taste to make sure it's not too wine-y. Serve over the pigeon with the mash, and a handful of crushed hazelnuts. They make all the difference, texture-wise - otherwise it's all a bit soft. They also go really well with pigeon meat. Delicious.