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Along with turkey shoots, pigeon shoots were a favorite sport in most colonial villages. Partially as a result, the carrier pigeon was wiped out long ago.

Today pigeon shooting as a sport is limited to the western United States, where the band-tail pigeon is a well-known sporting bird. In the East pigeon shooting is apt to be limited to helping a farmer reduce the mess around his barn.

Not many easterners think of pigeon as food, yet they will pay a respectable price for squab under glass, and that's young pigeon, usually raised for market. The trouble with pigeon is that when it gets beyond the squab stage -- and a pigeon can live for a goodly number of years -- it definitely is tough. The best solution for an old pigeon is a good strong marinade. Pigeons should marinate for a fair length of time; a young one for 12 to 24 hours, older birds for a couple of days. Pigeon meat is fine-grained and lean; it takes well to strong-flavored sauces.

Depending on appetites and place of the meal, 1 or 2 squabs may serve 1 person. One older, larger, bird may be enough for 1 entree. Pigeons weigh 7 to 10 ounces.

Jacqueline E. Knight


Grilled Squab and Pears

Recipe By:	 Larry Vito
Serving Size:	8
Preparation Time:	0:00
Categories:	Wild Game	Squab/Pigeon	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
8		Squabs (about 1 pound each)	
1/4	c	Olive oil	
		Salt and freshly ground	
		-black pepper to taste	
4	md	Pears, halved	

  Prepare a very hot barbecue fire, or at the broiler to 550 degrees F.
  Cut each squab in half; brush halves with olive oil and season with
  salt and pepper. Grill skin side down for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or
  until skin is crisp but meat is still tender and juicy. Turn squabs
  and grill 30 seconds longer. When birds are ready to turn, place pear
  halves on grill (or under the broiler) and heat through, turning once.
  These birds are wonderful served on a bed of Napa cabbage sauteed with
  bacon, sliced onions and red wine vinegar. 

Pigeon in Red Wine Sauce

Recipe By:	 Aude Clement of Lac d'Enghien, France	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
4		Pigeons (squab)	
		-- (about 1 lb. each)	
4	c	Chicken stock	
4	c	Red Burgundy wine	
1		Onion	chopped
1		Bay leaf	
1		Sprig fresh thyme	
3		Sprigs fresh Italian parsley	
1		Sprig fresh curly parsley	
1	sm	Sprig fresh rosemary	
6		To 8 garlic cloves	
1	t	Coriander seeds	
3		Scallions	chopped
		-- both white & green parts	
		Black pepper	to taste
6	tb	Unsalted butter (3/4 stick)	
4	c	Mixed greens and herbs	

  Wash and dry the pigeons; with a pair of kitchen shears, clip the
  wing tips and the ends of the legs from each bird. Cut the leg and
  thigh joints, wings, and breast meat from the carcasses and set
  aside. Reserve the carcasses for the sauce.
  In a large nonaluminum saucepan, combine the carcasses, stock, wine,
  onion, herbs, garlic and scallions over high heat. Reduce heat and
  simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour to allow the sauce to absorb all the
  flavors. If it seems to be reducing too quickly, add a little water.
  After 1 hour, increase heat and boil hard until the sauce is reduced
  by half; strain, season with pepper and set aside.
  In a large skillet, melt three tb. of the butter over medium-high
  heat. Saute the legs and wings, turning until they are golden on all
  sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the strained sauce over the
  pigeon, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the
  pigeon pieces are tender when pricked with a fork, about 30 to 40
  minutes. Remove the pigeon and stir 2 tb. of butter into the sauce.
  A few minutes before serving, saute the boned breasts in the
  remaining 3 tb. of butter for 2 minutes on each side; they will be
  Mound the mixed greens and herbs on each plate and top with a pigeon
  piece that has been cooked in the sauce. Slice the breast and serve,
  passing the sauce separately.
  Note: To make this sauteed pigeon into a feast, Aude serves it with
  peeled, roasted and sliced figs and slices of sauteed fresh foie gras.

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