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Pigeon in a Fig & Madeira Sauce by Ed Smith (FBC)

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Servings: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ready In: 30 minutes
Make Sure You Have: Meat thermometer (optional), stick blender (optional)

Butternut squash mash:
½ butternut squash, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
½ stick of unsalted butter

Cavolo nero:
6 large leaves of cavolo nero (Italian kale), trimmed and destalked
1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt to taste

2 whole pigeons, can be substituted with squab, grouse, partridge or other small game birds
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
¼ cup madeira wine
1 fig
2 cobnuts, for garnish, can be substituted for hazelnuts

Butternut squash mash
1. Boil the butternut squash in a pan of salted boiling water until they become tender, which should take between 10-15 minutes.

2. Once tender, drain the squash and allow to steam for a few minutes.

3. With a stick blender, purée the squash until smooth. If you do not have a stick blender, the squash can be mashed by hand.

4. Add 2 tbsp of butter, a pinch of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cavolo nero
1. Blanch the cavolo nero in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain most of the water, leaving just a little liquid in the bottom of the pan.

2. Finish the cavolo nero with 1 tbsp of butter, and mix thoroughly, before serving. Season with salt to taste.

1. Pre-heat an oven to 300°F (150°C). Prepare the pigeon by removing the wishbone and trimming the wings, and seasoning generously all over as well as inside the cavity with salt. Heat the rapeseed oil in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the pigeon starting breast side down until the skin becomes lightly browned, which should take about 2 minutes on each side.

2. Place the pigeon in the oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches 120°F (50°C) when checked with a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and leave to rest, breast-side down, for a further 7-8 minutes.

3. To prepare the jus, add the madeira wine to the pan in which the pigeon has been cooked, over a medium-high heat. Add the fig to the jus, and allow the alcohol to burn off.

4. Add 2-3 tbsp of butter to the jus, to thicken the sauce, and make sure that the figs are cooked on both sides.

5. To finish the dish, carve the pigeon breasts off the bone, and serve with some cavolo nero, a portion of the butternut squash mash, ½ of the fig, 2 or 3 tbsp of the madeira jus, and topped with finely sliced cobnuts.