Niamh's main course recipe from the two course challenge

Ingredients

  • 2 crowns of wood pigeon
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • redcurrant syrup:
  • 150 g redcurrants, picked off stems
  • 50 ml water
  • juice of 1 orange
  • generous splash of cointreau
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar
  • salt and pepper to season
  • carrot purée:
  • 6 large carrots
  • peel of the orange (that you used for the redcurrant syrup)
  • sprig of thyme
  • 250 ml double cream
  • butternut squash:
  • 1 butternut squash, skin and seeds removed and cut into 1” chunks
  • oil
  • butter
  • thyme
  • mushrooms:
  • 200 g mixed mushrooms including oyster mushrooms, girolles and morels
  • a little oil
  • 25 g butter

Method

  • To make the redcurrant syrup, put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat slightly, but allow the mixture continue to bubble at a brisk pace. Do not cover the saucepan. Continue cooking for approximately 12-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile make the carrot purée…
  • Peel and chop the carrots into chunks. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover the carrots and add the orange rind and a sprig of thyme. Bring to the boil and continue cooking for approximately 15 minutes until the carrots are soft.
  • Drain the carrots and remove the orange rind and thyme. Place the carrots in a blender with the cream and purée until smooth. Pass the purée through a chinoise into a small saucepan until you are ready to gently re-heat just prior to plating up.
  • Next prepare the butternut squash chunks…
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C. Remove the rind from the butternut squash with a sharp knife and cut into chunks about 2cms square. Place in a roasting tin with a drizzle of oil , a generous knob of butter and a sprig of thyme.
  • Roast in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, turning the squash once or twice during the cooking time. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
  • Whilst the squash is roasting prepare the wood pigeon… Place the chicken stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer. Place the wood pigeon crown in the simmering stock for 4 minutes, and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a warm dish, cover with tin foil and keep warm. Meanwhile. heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and add a knob of butter. Uncover the wood pigeon crown and carefully remove the breasts from the carcass and set aside momentarily.
  • When the fat is hot, season the pigeon breast and place (skin-side down) in the fat. Cook for about a minute and a half by which time the skin should be nicely coloured. Turn over the pigeon breasts and cook on the other side for about a minute. Remove the cooked pigeon to a warm dish, cover and allow rest for about five minutes.
  • To finish the dish….
  • Heat up a little vegetable oil in a small frying until very hot and quickly fry the prepared mushrooms until beginning to colour. Meanwhile using a pastry brush, paint some brushstrokes of redcurrant syrup ion your serving plate. Re-heat the carrot purée and swipe some to the side of the plate. Slice a wood-pigeon breast into 3 or 4 slices and place in the centre of the plate. Place the roasted butternut squash chunks and mushrooms randomly around the pigeon. Serve