Day four of the Christmas special. First I’m going to show you how to clean a pigeon. Then I’m going to confit the legs and the breasts were going to cook on the carcass. I’m serving that with a delicious poultry sauce, a hay cream and a Christmas tree pommes soufflé
bulb of garlic
50 to 100 grams
cold cubes of butter
Toast the duck carcasses on an oven rack with a oven tray underneath. Do this at 200 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes. Then transfer the carcasses into a big pot and cover it completely with water. Bring this to a boil on a medium heat. When a white foam starts to form remove it with a small ladle. Meanwhile take one big celeriac and clean it. Now cut the celeriac in big cubes and keep two third in your fridge for later. Then trim the end of the leek, cut it in half and wash it to remove any dirt or bugs. Now cut it. Then cut the carrot in half and cut it in big pieces. Do this as well with the celery sticks. Then finally cut the onions in half and clean them. Now chop them. Once the water in the pot is boiling add the chopped vegetables. Then cut the garlic in half and add it to the pot together with the thyme, the bay leaves, the coriander seeds and the black peppercorns. Now make sure everything is covered with water and let it simmer on a low heat for at least 8 hours. After that drain the liquid on a colander and let it drain for at least half an hour, so you don’t waste a single drop of broth. Then reduce the broth for 80% or until the desired flavor is reached. Meanwhile use a ladle to remove any fat or white foam that floats on top. When that’s done while stirring bind the sauce with around 50 to 100 grams of cold cubes of butter. Then pass it through a fine sieve and taste the sauce for seasoning. If the sauce is to fat add a touch of white wine vinegar to balance it out.
The hay cream
The remaining 2/3 of cleaned & chopped celeriac
First bind the hay together with some cooking rope. Do this so you don’t need spend ages removing the hay once the cream needs to be blended. Then transfer it into a pan and also add the remaining two third of the cleaned & chopped celeriac. Cover it with the vegetable broth, the cream and the salt. Now take a piece of parchment paper and keep on folding it in half on the same corner for four to five times. Put the point in the middle of the pan and then cut the remaining parchment paper off on the edge of the pan. Then also remove the point. Now fold it open and lay it on the celeriac. Let this simmer till the celeriac is cooked. If you don’t put the parchment paper on top the liquid will be vaporized before the celeriac is cooked. Once 90% of the liquid is gone remove the parchment paper and the hay. Transfer it into a blender and blend it till smooth. Once it’s smooth add a touch of Xanthan powder and blend it for another minute. This will prevent the cream from splitting.
The pommes soufflé
Take one big waxy potato and cut it in thin slices on a mandolin. Be careful because a mandolin is very sharp. Now lay the slices on your worktop in pares of two. Then dust a decent layer of potato starch on the top half. Remove any excess powder with a brush. Work with caution, you don’t want to brush it all on the other layers. Then apply a thin layer of egg white on the bottom half. Now gently place the two rows on top of each other with the egg white side facing the potato starch side. Don’t press the together, only lay it on top. After, cut it with the desired cutters. Then remove the potato trimmings and place the cutted part on the outside of a tray or plate. Once that’s done deep fry 4 to 8 pieces a time at 170 degrees Celsius. Base them with a big spoon so they puff up and become nice and crispy. In total I made three different size, but you can do whatever you like. Just don’t deep fry to much at once, otherwise you can’t base them enough and they will not puff up as beautiful as possible. Then transfer them on a paper towel and season with salt. Now keep them dry and covered.
One pigeon is for two persons. First remove the claws and the wings. Keep all the trimmings in your freezer for the next time you’re making a sauce. Then make a small incision at the top on both legs. Now break the joints and remove the legs. Then make an incision just below the breast, brake it open and cut it off. Now cut the wings off on the second joint and then finally cut the neck off as well. Then take the legs and use the back of your knife to scrape the bone clean on the skinless side. Now pull the bone off the meat and cut it off. Transfer them on a tray and season with salt and black pepper. Then cover a small bowl with some cooking rope and cut it with a scissor in the middle. Place the cooking rope on your cutting board and then place the pigeon legs with the skin side down on top. Now roll this up and bind the legs with the rope. Then pour 200 grams of duck fat into a saucepan. This is the fat I removed from the sauce. Add the pigeon legs together with 2 sprigs of thyme and one bay leave. Now let it simmer at 90 degrees Celsius for around 90 minutes. Once that’s done remove them from the fat and use a small knife to trim the thin side of the leg. Cut it all around and then scrape it off. Then cut the joint off with a scissor. After that also remove the cooking rope and then toast the legs all around with a blowtorch.
How to finish the dish
First season the pigeons all around with salt. Then add a drizzle of oil to a hot pan and pan fry the pigeons on the breast side till golden brown. Once golden place them with the breasts up and add a knot of butter. Also add a couple sprigs of thyme and let the butter caramelize. Then base the pigeons for around 30 seconds to a minute. After that place them on some hay and bake them at 110 degrees Celsius for around 15 minutes. The hay will give a beautiful flavor and it’s also a great way to show your guests the pigeon before serving it. Now you can press the breasts to see if it’s cooked. Before it went in the oven it didn’t give a lot of resistance. Now you really should feel some tension. Feel before and after to notice the difference. Then let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes in a warm environment. I use my heat draw. Now use a sharp knife to cut the breast from the bone. Just follow the bone and take your time. Then use the tip of your knife to scrape any fat away that’s placed between the meat and skin. Then take the hot hay cream and use a round cutter to make a circle on a plate. Also use the cream to place the pommes souffles on top of each other to make a potato Christmas tree. Now place the pigeon breast on the other side and pipe a nice dot of the cream next to it. Put the hot pigeon leg on the cream and decorate the plate with some winter purslane. Then finish it with the delicious sauce!