Comes a time to say living well is the best revenge.
I’m sweating the easter menu, just this morning finally coming up with the missing inspiration and had to deal with this evening’s and tomorrow’s dinners. Too much juggling! I spent half the day driving from store to store, just to be disappointed again because they decided things should be out of season even if they aren’t. This made me visit even more stores trying to find what I wanted.
But enough rant. I saw an unlikely pigeon at my fish- and venison dealer at the Gutenbergplatz market and decided to splurge. This is the first time I’ve seen her carry pigeons, and these were from France (I don’t know if they were Mieral- but they had some kind of label and the lady sells label rouge chickens).
For Ms. B I got a corn-fed breast and wing, called a suprême. To accompany this feast, I made mashed potatoes (a winner with Ms. B) and artichokes (the same with me).
The meat was not a problem, though I had to gut the bird myself. This is only the second time I’ve had pigeon, the first being 2 years ago in Burgundy, home of Mieral pigeons and Bresse chickens- there my friend H. gave me lessons on pigeon anatomy.
I did OK by myself, not puncturing anything vile and otherwise using most parts. I wound up with a breast still conected in the middle, with the skin still attached. Those breasts are plump! Also two wings and two thighs, not really meaty, but I didn’t want to waste them on the sauce because I already had the rest of the carcass.
The main job was to make sauces for different birds as well as the sauce for the lamb on Sunday. The lamb’s basis was bones and shank (beef), red wine, soup vegetables and lamb stock two hours later.
The pigeon got a smidgen of roots (carrots, celery, onion, parsley and leeks) as well as about 250 cl of a red wine deemed too weak to drink (just kidding- we decided the german Spätburgunder was no match for the french Pint Noir, though actually the same thing, just treated differently by different vintners and of course grown in (slightly) different climates. Anyhow, it all comes together in the pot. I reduced the sauce to the point where it had an aura of oil around it as soon as I put it on the plate.
The chicken sauce was more commercial. I didn’t have much to work with, just the suprême. I fried it on both sides and transferred it to the oven. I had sautéed a shallot in butter, added a teaspoon of flour to make a roux, cooked that for a couple of minutes, added a slosh of white burgundy (ah! it comes together!) and a jar of chicken stock. This I reduced until I had to add some cream to have any sauce left at all. I deglazed the pan with this mix when I pulled the chicken out of the oven.
Ms. B. wasn’t complaining. In fact, she had seconds of mashed potato and sauce. She probably would have had seconds of chicken had there been any.
As for me, I loved pigeon all over again. It’s an expensive little bugger, but let me tell you- duck doesn’t come close and neither does anything else I’ve tried in my life. It’s a particularly delicious piece of meat- and small, too: a fleeting joy.
The very dark sauce was very strong. It tasted great, but next time I will make something lighter to highlight the meat more, even though it could hold it’s own today.
What a way to slide into the Easter dinner! Bring it on!