Today I’m cooking Suprêmes de Pigeon au Vin, Pigeon breasts with a red wine sauce The style of this recipe belongs more to the haute-cuisine style of fine restaurants than to traditional home cookery, yet the technique of preparing a top-notch sauce from the carcass and trimmings of a bird, or other small game,is well worth mastering and is simple enough to be demonstrated here.
Ingredients (for two people)
3 tablespoons brandy (Cognac, Armagnac etc)
250 ml red wine
1/2 an onion
1 small carrot
a few sprigs of thyme and oregano (if available)
a bay leaf
10 juniper berries, lightly crushed (if available)
100 ml brown stock (optional)
a tablespoon of flour
salt and pepper
Remove the breasts from the carcasses, leaving the wings attached to the breast if you like. (The pigeons in the video came without wings). Chop up the carcasses and legs into quite small pieces and cook them in a splash of olive oil, over medium heat, until they take on a little colour. Drop in the chopped carrot and onion along with the herbs and the juniper berries. Keep stirring it around for a few minutes; the solids should be nicely coloured and there should be nice dark caramelisation on the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir everything around for half a minute longer. The purpose of the flour is to thicken the sauce. Flamber with some brandy and when the flames die down, pour in some red wine. Still over a good heat, scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve the dark layer on the bottom. Add the stock if using.Now add some water: just enough to cover the solids. Bring it to a simmer and cook for half an hour, periodically skimming off any fat and scum that appears on the surface.
Strain out the solids pressing every last drop of liquid through. If the sauce is still on the thin side, keep it bubbling gently to reduce it until a good sauce consistency is reached. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Into a very hot pan, drop a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Season the pigeon breast and place them into the pan skin-side down. Turn them after a minute, and after another minute, or when they are done to your liking, remove and allow them to rest in a warm place for five minutes.
An ideal accompaniment for these pigeon breasts are sautéed potatoes. If possible, serve with the same wine used for the sauce.