Pichones en Mole

An unusual combination of flavours from South America, Pichones en Mole (pitch-on-ays en moh-lay) must be prepared with care so that the birds are succulent and the sauce smooth. If squabs (small pigeons) are not available, partridge may be used instead.

4 SERVINGS

4 squabs, cleaned

2 oz. butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

SAUCE

1 oz. butter

4 shallots, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon flour

5 fl. oz. dry white wine

5 fl. oz. chicken stock

1 oz. dark cooking chocolate, grated

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Cut the squabs through the back with a sharp, heavy knife and bend the ribs out-ward until the breastbones crack and the birds lie flat. Remove the backbones completely, using kitchen scissors.

Preheat the grill to moderate.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Place the birds in the grill pan, skin sides down, and brush the upper surface generously with the butter mixture. Place the pan under the heat and grill the birds for 8 minutes or until they are golden brown, brushing frequently with the butter mixture.

Remove the pan from the heat, turn the birds over and brush with the butter mixture. Return the pan to the heat and grill for 8 minutes or until the birds are golden brown, brushing frequently with the butter mixture again.

Remove the birds from the grill ‘ pan and transfer them to a heated serving dish. Reserve the cooking juices and remaining butter mixture.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the flour and cook the mixture for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the wine and stock, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat and bring the liquids to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chocolate, lemon rind and the reserved cooking juices and butter mix-ture. Pour the sauce into a heated sauce-boat and serve immediately, with the squabs.

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