Casseroling Pigeon

Method

I always casserole or braise pigeons, and you can adapt this method for any poultry or game birds with vegetables of your choice. First quarter lengthwise 2 fennel bulbs, finely chop 3 cloves garlic and a 5 cm (2 in) piece fresh ginger and skin and chop 500 g (1 lb) tomatoes. Have ready 4 pigeons, 3 strips orange rind, 1 teaspoon ground mace, 1 tablespoon plain flour, 150 ml (¼ pint) stock and the juice of 1 orange.

  1. Heat a small amount of olive oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Brown 4 whole or halved pigeons all over, then remove from the pan and set aside.

  2. Fry the fennel until golden, then add the garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Transfer to a flameproof casserole with the tomatoes, orange rind and mace. Stir in the flour, add the stock and orange juice and season. Then return to the heat.

  3. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Add the pigeons on top of the vegetables, cover and cook in a preheated oven, 150°C, 300°F, Gas Mark 2 for 2½-3 hours until the pigeons are very tender when tested with the tip of a knife.

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