Starter: Squab Pigeon

A starter recipe from the Cliff House challenge


  • pigeon:
  • 12 pigeons
  • bay leaf
  • black pepper
  • juniper berries
  • star anise
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • garlic
  • sea salt
  • red wine
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • shallot
  • butter
  • spelt bread
  • foie gras liver “dome”:
  • 250 gr pigeon jus
  • 250 gr duck foie gras
  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 0.50 tsp banyuls vinegar
  • 250mls vegetable stock
  • 4gr kappa
  • 2 g gold powder
  • pigeon jus with blue berries:
  • pigeon jus
  • blue berries
  • finches berry cordial
  • sherry vinegar
  • bayleave fluid gel:
  • 100ml bayleave water
  • 10ml lemon thyme oil
  • 1.20 gr xanthan gum
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • bayleave oil “ crumbs”:
  • 50 ml bayleave oil
  • 30 gr malto
  • salt
  • blueberry gel:
  • 200 g blue berries
  • 20 ml vodka
  • 2.10 g agar agar
  • carrot puree:
  • 500gr organic carrots
  • 0.50 fennel seeds
  • 1/8 orange peel
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • white pepper
  • carrot confit:
  • 20 small round carrots
  • rapeseed oil
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bayleave
  • peel of ½ orange
  • pepper corns
  • salt
  • grilled carrot:
  • 10 medium size purple carrots
  • aniseed cube
  • seasoning, olive oil
  • sweet and sour carrot:
  • 2 purple carrots
  • 100 ml banyuls vinegar
  • 30 ml water
  • 4 g sugar
  • 4 g salt
  • 4 strips bayleave
  • 4 crushed cardamom pods


  1. To make the pigeon breasts:
  2. Bone out the pigeons. Trim the breasts and marinate with rape seed oil, bay leaf, salt and black pepper. Vacuum seal the breasts individually and cook in a water bath for 7 minutes at 58 degrees Celsius.
  3. To make the pigeon Lollipops:
  4. Remove the bone of the bottom part of the pigeon legs then season and roll up in cling film place with duck fat, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a vacuum bag, cooked at 62.5 degrees Celsius for 2 hours. The Blast chill , and remove from vacpack , trim the leg and expose the top bone, slice the bottom of the leg so it can stand up. The bottom slice is kept cold and goes marinated on the Plate, the leg is reheated in jus
  5. To make the Foie Gras Dome:
  6. In a thermo blender, cook and mix the pigeon jus and duck liver with the pigeon jus at 80 degrees Celsius for four minutes. Add seasoning, vinegar and the gelatine leaf. Pass this mixture through a fine sieve into half sphere moulds and leave to set in the freezer. Place the vegetable stock and kappa in a small pot and whisk over a medium heat until it comes to a soft boil and add the gold powder, Set it aside to cool a little. Remove the parfaits from their moulds, and pick them up using a toothpick stuck in the top. Dip each parfait into the kappa mix so that a thin skin forms on the outside of the parfait. Place it on an even surface to defrost fully.
  7. To make the Pigeon Liver and Heart Gratin Farce:
  8. Dice 1 shallot in a fine dice , chop rosemary and thyme enough for 1 tsp each, crush 1 clove of garlic and heat in a small bit of oil, then add Pigeon Livers and hearts and fry off until cooked, then add a 30 ml of wine and take of the heat and let it cool off
  9. Place in a blender and mix until smooth, add a knob of cold butter, season to taste and place in container.
  10. Slice spelt bread in thin slices and cut out small circles, toss through butter and crisp up under a grill.
  11. In service we spread the Farce on top of the spelt bread and heat it through.
  12. To make the Pigeon and Blue Berries Jus:
  13. Take 100 ml pigeon jus and add 10 ml cordial and 5 ml sherry vinegar, bring to a boil , taste ,when searing the pigeon breast – add fresh whole blueberries to the jus ( 8 per person )
  14. Serve in a small copper pot
  15. To make the Bay leave fluid gel :
  16. Combine the Bay leave water with the lemon thyme oil and seasoning and while stirring constantly, add small pinches of xanthan gum until a smooth transparent gel forms. Season to taste and place in a small squeeze bottle until needed.
  17. To make the bay leave Oil crumbs:
  18. Mix the malto with bayleave oil and work it with the hands and fingers until you can press the mix together to small rocks, add a very small pinch of salt,
  19. then heat a non-stick frying pan to high temp, then under consistent movement place the olive rocks in the pan, keep the pan moving and remove from heat, the rocks will lose the sharp edges and turn in to smooth little stones, then place in air tight container until use.
  20. To make the Blue Berry Gel:
  21. In a blender blitz raw fresh blue berries into a smooth coulis, add vodka
  22. Place in a pot and add agar agar, then heat it up and bring it to a boil .
  23. Place in a container and let it cool in the fridge, when completely cool and set, place it in a small mixer again and mix smooth, season to taste
  24. To make the carrot puree:
  25. Peel the carrots and slice into even chunks. Mix with the olive oil, fennel seeds, orange peel and seasoning. Place in a vacuum bag and seal tightly. Cook in a steam oven on 100 degrees Celsius until tender. Puree the carrots in a blender until smooth, pass through a fine sieve and cool until needed
  26. To make the carrot ‘confit’:
  27. Rub the carrots in salt and place in a suitable pot with the oil and the aromates - then gently cook until tender. Cool in the oil and scrape off the skin of the carrot, slice in half and make sure the green of the top is intact.
  28. To make the Grilled Carrot:
  29. Blanche the Carrots in water and salt for 2 minutes then cool in ice water, then scrape of the skin and slice lengthwise in half, then toss though neutral oil and grill it on the griddle, after grilling dust with anise powder and salt.
  30. To Make the Sweet and Sour Carrot:
  31. Peel the Purple Carrot – then with the same peeler make long length wise peels of the carrot, place on the work bench and trim in even sizes, until you have 20 and place in a Vacuum bag, mix 100 ml Banyuls Vinegar, 30 ml water, 4 strips bay leaf, zest of ½ orange, 4 crushed Cardamom Pods, 4 gram of salt, 4 gram sugar and mix well, taste, and adjust if needed, place in the bag and seal full. Then refrigerate

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