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Squab


frogprincess
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Many years ago when Christian Bertrand left Lutece and opened his name sake in Greenwich CT I decided to go after a jod there.

Lutece was my favorite in the city (early 80's)and I admired Soltner.

Anyway, I got the job,and was tought by Christian a very easy (but perfect)squab dish.I would bone out the breast and french them,and clean and seperate the thighs and legs.the carcees then would be roasted and make into a stock and eventually a salmi.The legs were seared and roasted until done in the oven and the breast was pan seared MR stove top basting it constantly.We served it simply with broad noodles tossed in buerre noisette,sultanas and juilianne of zucc,the breast was sliced and the tights and legs were placed below the breast and then the reduction was ladled on.

It was very nice and was elevated even more by a glass of burgundy

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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The most straightforward thing to do if you are new to the bird is cut the breasts off and sautee them - means you have more control I guess (though no guarantee to won't overcook! best to leave a teeny bit overdone as they finish as they rest). The foolproof thing to do with the legs and carcass would then be to make stock/sauce with them - but maybe a bit of a waste as there's good meat on the legs.

Alternately brown and roast the damn thing with some bacon draped over the breast - the problem being unless you have an eagle eye and/or a digital thermometer could easily overdo it

cheerio

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I would agree that the best way to cook a squab is sauteing the breasts and cooking the legs separately. One approach that is nice is to roast the legs (or confit them if you have the time) and serve them on top of a salad of frisee or arugula or whatever you like (croutons, garlic, put the little squab liver on there too, if you get one), and then serve the MR sauteed breasts as a separate course with whatever pan sauce strikes your fancy.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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If I may offer a slightly differing opinion, I don't really have any problems with eating squab where the breasts and legs have been cooked together at the same time. That said, I also like eating the breast cooked just through and I don't feel that the legs need to be falling-off-the-bone done. This is how I have most often had piccione in Toscana. I wonder if the rare breast meat thing is French.

Anyway, what I like to do is cut out the backbone and breastbone so the only bones remaining are the wing bones and leg bones. The breastbones and backbones get simmered in water to make a squab broth. Then I like to throw the squab skin side down in a very hot pan to brown the skin, flip it over and finish it in a high oven. Deglaze the pan with the squab stock and mount with butter to make a quick pan sauce (sometimes I like to crush the squab liver into the sauce). Serve with a white bean/garlic/rosemary puree and some balsamic glazed cipollini.

That's how I like to do it, anyway.

--

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confit the legs,,,make a port sauce with the carcass,sear the breast off real quick and let cool. blanch a nice piece of savoy cabbage and wrap squab breast with one ounce seasoned foie gras. roast in 450 degree oven 5-7 minutes. serve with port glaze and confit leg and small salad! little fleur over the split breast,,,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :wink:

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I have found that "Squab", prepared Baste Saute Style, similar to the way it's been prepared in Shatin, Hong Kong at the restaurant across the Railroad Tracks where after trying the Pigeon, Craig Claiboure at a review in the NY Times said that it was the best he'd ever eaten [He ate 3 Whole Squabs].

Coat the dressed Squab with Dark Soy Sauce, Pepper and a Sugar Glaze.

Place a Skewer, or hold with a Steel Fork thru the bird. In a Wok with a layer of Peanut Oil, heated under a High Flame place the Bird laying it into the hot oil, rotating and basting it with a ladle with the Hot Oil allowing the Pigeon the brown evenly on all sides.

During Cooking allow the Bird to Rest several times in a large bowl or pan standing on it's side to let the heat penetrate and the juices to flow upto the surface.

The Bird will generally be cooked in about 16/20 minutes, several may be prepared, rotating and cooking them in the oil during the same period.

Traditionally Squab is not cooked as well done as Chicken or Turkey, should you prefer to cook it longer it will still taste good but not as juicy and delicious.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Squab is a favorite in my house. I bone out the breasts so that they will cook evenly and season both breasts and legs (just salt and pepper) a few hours before cooking. Sometimes I sauté and sometimes I grill, leaving the legs a little longer on the fire. To me it is very important that the breasts be rare as they develop an unpleasant livery taste if they are cooked through. I serve them with a wine/demi-glace reduction, often flavored with sour cherries or red currants or sharpened with mustard and a little sherry vinegar.

Ruth Friedman

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  • 4 years later...

NOTE FROM HOSTS: some of this discussion on squab has been moved over from the general topic on Sous Vide cooking.

Mike: 

That looks excellent.  I'm tempted to mimic this for doves when the season opens.

Thanks, VW,

Do you hunt doves? How are they different from squabs? ( I never had one)

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

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My flickr collection

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Mike: 

That looks excellent.  I'm tempted to mimic this for doves when the season opens.

Thanks, VW,

Do you hunt doves? How are they different from squabs? ( I never had one)

Yes; I do hunt doves. The game bird species is the migratory mourning dove. I believe pigeons (squab) are bred commercially for their meat, so it's a different animal altogether (pun intended).

Even full grown doves are pretty small, so small, I only eat the breast. In that respect, the meat resembles the two lobes pictured in your post. Like squab, it's also a dark meat, and cooks up to a redish brown.

As far as how they compare taste-wise, it's been awhile since I had squab; but I tend to prefer doves. I'd say they are somewhat comparable in texture, but IMHO doves are bit more gamey and firm-fleshed. I remember the few squab experiences I have had invariably have a "bloody" taste, for lack of a better term.

Once difference in the taste between the two could be attributable to the fact all the doves I've had have been wild birds; and therefore lean and gamey. That's why sous vide would work well, because they can be very easily overcooked.

Best,

- VW

Edited by Vicious Wadd (log)
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... I do hunt doves.  The game bird species is the migratory mourning dove.  I believe pigeons (squab) are bred commercially for their meat, so it's a different animal altogether (pun intended).

Even full grown doves are pretty small, so small, I only eat the breast.  In that respect, the meat resembles the two lobes pictured in your post.  Like squab, it's also a dark meat, and cooks up to a redish brown. 

As far as how they compare taste-wise, it's been awhile since I had squab; but I tend to prefer doves.  I'd say they are somewhat comparable in texture, but IMHO doves are bit more gamey and firm-fleshed.  I remember the few squab experiences I have had invariably have a "bloody" taste, for lack of a better term.

Once difference in the taste between the two could be attributable to the fact all the doves I've had have been wild birds; and therefore lean and gamey.  That's why sous vide would work well, because they can be very easily overcooked.

Thanks for your reply, VW,

Glad we established the difference between the two: true squabs have never flown, whereas doves are flying birds. Squab breasts have "livery" or "bloody" taste, which is quite unique. According to Squab Producers of California: "...Of importance to note: the fat of the Squab is "baby fat", UNDER the skin not WITHIN the meat, and renders off in cooking)."

Much like you said: both doves and squabs are perfect for SV - tender poultry with a taste and texture of steak deserves and calls for precise cooking approach.

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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