Sautéed Pigeon Breasts with Giblet Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield:



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

It is best to obtain pigeons that have been eviscerated but contain all the giblets—heart, liver, gizzard, and lungs. If these are unavailable, the pigeon livers can be used alone. This dish is particularly good with fresh boiled and buttered fava beans.


pigeons 4 4
onion, chopped 3 oz 100 g
carrot, chopped 3 oz 100 g
garlic cloves, peeled 2 2
oil as needed as needed
brown chicken stock or other stock (or more as needed) 2 cups 500 ml
small bouquet garni 1 1
butter 3 oz 90 g
juniper berries, crushed and chopped 5 5
marc or grappa 1 tbsp 15 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste
wine vinegar a few drops a few drops


  1. Remove the giblets from the pigeons and set them aside. Carefully remove from the carcasses the pigeon breasts (with skin attached) and the thighs, which can be left attached to the breasts. Coarsely chop the pigeon carcasses.
  2. Brown the chopped carcasses in a pan with the onion, carrot, and garlic, in a very small amount of oil.
  3. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup (125 milliliters) stock; reduce it rapidly until it forms a glaze and caramelizes. Add the rest of the stock and the bouquet garni and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain this base and reserve. Skim off any fat that floats to the top.
  4. Purée the butter, giblets, juniper berries, and marc in a food processor. Work the mixture through a strainer. Cover this mixture with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until needed.
  5. When ready to serve, sauté the pigeon breasts and thighs in a small amount of oil. Transfer them to a plate, discard the fat in the pan, and deglaze the pan with the pigeon stock.
  6. Finish the sauce with about 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the giblet mixture per serving. Pour the liquid into the giblet mixture, not the other way around.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and add vinegar, drop by drop, to taste.
  8. If you like, slice the breasts lengthwise and arrange them over a vegetable such as fava beans. Nap or surround the sautéed breasts and thighs with the sauce.


Stabilize the sauce with 2 grams liquid lecithin worked into the butter. Stabilize the stock part of the sauce with about 0.5 grams propylene glycol alginate per ½ cup (100 milliliters) stock base.

Foie gras can also be worked into the butter.