Pigeons with Chestnuts

A filling, spicy casserole, Pigeon: with Chestnuts is an ideal cold weather dish. Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.

1 oz. butter

4 pigeons, oven-ready

16 dried chestnuts, soaked overnight and cooked until almost tender

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

8 fl. oz. dry red wine

8 fl. oz. beef stock

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

In a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the pigeons and cook them, turning them frequently, for 3 minutes or until they are lightly browned all over.

Using tongs or two large spoons, remove the pigeons from the pan and place them in an ovenproof casserole. Add the chestnuts to the casserole and set aside.

Add the garlic, nutmeg and allspice to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and stock and bring the liquids to the boil, stirring constantly.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the wine and stock mixture over the pigeons in the casserole.

Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Cook the pigeons for 1 hour or until the breasts are tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately.

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