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Sage flavoured roasted pigeon

(Piccione arrosto alla salvia)

  • 2 pigeons with their livers
  • a mixture obtained by beating in the mortar:
    6 garlic cloves cut in small pieces
    10 juniper berries
    10-12 leaves of sage
    a pinch of salt
    a pinch of black pepper
    a glass of white wine
    2 locks of sage
    a piece of bread crumb reconstituted in warm milk
    some leaves of parsley
    a pinch of spices
    vegetable oil
    salt and pepper

Take the pigeons (keep their livers to use later), salt and pepper them, uniformly, inside and outside. Spread them uniformly with the above beaten mixture by massaging, in order to incorporate, as good as possible, the flavours and tastes of the mixture; let the pigeons flavour for few hours. In the meanwhile take the livers, beat them with a knife together with the parsley leaves and when they have become like a mush, knead them with the crumb, well wringed out of the milk. Salt, pepper and add spices accordingly, by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork , then, after having divided this mixture in two parts, take the pigeons once again and put in each pigeon half of the mixture, in order to fill them.

Lay a lock of sage over the breast of each pigeon, then wrapp them tightly in a tinfoil and put them in a baked pan, bathe them with some oil, put them in oven and cook them for about 40 minutes at 160°.
After this time remove the tinfoil, bathe with some wine and let them cook 10 minutes more at 180°, until the pigeons will get coloured and the wine will evaporate. At the right time drain the pigeons from the cooking oil and, without taking out the pan from the heat, add 500 grs of pieces of potato and let them cook, over a brisky heat, for 30 minutes or until they will get coloured, turning them sometimes.

When the potatoes are ready, cut the pigeons in two parts along their length and put them for a while over the potatoes. Then put in a tray, the pigeons over the potatoes and serve.

We think that a perfect cooking without blood represents an optimal solution for the pigeon (even if it has red meats), a type of cooking which is opposite to rosted meats in general. In this case the first type of cooking offers advantages as it is concerned with the general flavour and the meat softness, which is not penalized (for example this happens for the steak, in fact if it is too cooked it becomes like a sole), because these pigeons are young and very tender.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni


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