At least 24 hours in advance confit the squab legs. Use a sharp boning knife to remove the legs, wings and wishbones from the squab leaving the breasts on the carcass. Salt the squab legs and confit. Save the wings and wishbones for making a stock or sauce.
Season the cavities of the squab with a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stuff each with a crushed garlic clove and a sprig of thyme and lightly season the skin of the squab with salt and freshly ground pepper.
In a heavy-based pan heat 20 ml olive oil over a medium heat. Add the birds skin side down and seal for 3 - 4 minutes until the skin is evenly brown. Stand the squab upright in the pan to ensure even cooking of the breasts and transfer to the oven to
While the squab are resting, return the pan to the heat and add the squab legs confit skin side down and cook for 2 minutes until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn the legs, transfer to the oven and warm through for a further 2 minutes. Remove the legs from the pan and rest with the breasts while preparing the remainder of the dish.
Bring the chicken stock to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add a crushed garlic clove and the onion and sweat without colour for 2 minutes. Add the rice and seal without colour for a further 2 minutes. Add a ladle of chicken stock and cook, stirring continuously to prevent it from sticking and until the stock is absorbed. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to add the stock, a ladle at a time, and cook the risotto until the rice is al dente which will take about 18 - 20 minutes.
To finish the risotto add the remaining whole diced butter and stir into the rice until fully incorporated. Add the parmesan cheese and fold through the risotto. Remove and discard the garlic clove. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from the heat and fold through the sliced spring onion and chives.
Heat the balsamic jus in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Heat the vegetable oil for deep-frying the onion rings to 180°C. Pass the onion rings through the flour, shake off any excess and drop them into the oil and cook until crisp and golden brown. Drain on a clean kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Lightly season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Carve the breasts from the squab and place together with the legs in the oven to warm through. Place a
© 2005 Liam Tomlin. All rights reserved.