Flicking through Delicious magazine this month I saw some food ideas for the song The 12 Days Of Christmas. Several days had recipe ideas, several had decoration ideas. I decided to see if I could make a dish for each day of the song. Some are tough – Ladies Dancing, Lords A Leaping – so, if you will allow me a bit of leaway, I think I have got each of the 12 days sorted out. I aim to post one dish a day between now and December 24th. Check out yesterday’s Partridge In A Pear Tree
The second dish for the 12 Days Of Christmas is Two Turtle Doves. Soft Black Turtle Beans cooked in stock, with slow cooked wood pigeon and fresh young Chantenay carrots. To finish-a sprinkling of micro, garlic chives.
Pigeon can be very tough, partly because there’s no fat on it. But served either rare or long slow cooked, it is very tender. My pigeon recipe is adapted from Elizabeth David’s Table, with added porcini mushrooms and pancetta.
Two Turtle Doves my way
For the turtle beans
- 210g Black Turtle Beans, soaked overnight. (Available from good supermarkets.)
- I leak finely sliced
- 50 g butter
- 250ml chicken stock. (Your seasoning will depend on how much salt your stock has in it. Taste it.)
Method for the turtle beans
- Melt the butter in a medium sized pan
- Add the leeks and cook over a medium heat until soft.
- Add the beans, stir to combine well and then add the stock (and seasoning if required).
- Stir, cover and simmer over a low heat for 45 mins. Check every 15 mins to make sure that the beans haven’t dried out.
- If the liquid is too low top up with a little boiled water
- After 45 minutes the beans should be cooked through but not soggy.
- When cooked set aside.
For the pigeon
- 2 pigeons, whole from your butcher or good supermarket
- 70g pancetta, cut into small pieces
- 10 g dried porcini mushroom
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium sized onion
- 125ml white wine
- 125ml fresh chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Method for the pigeon
- Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl with enough water to cover them, set aside for 20 minutes.
- In a medium sized pan melt the butter and start to brown the onion.
- When the onions start to caramelise add the pancetta and cook until the fat become translucent.
- Remove the onions and pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Put the pigeons in the pan, breast side down, to brown and caramelise. Don’t keep nudging them, leave to brown for 5 minutes or so and then turn, to brown the other side.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms and add to the onion and pancetta. (The drained liquid can be kept and used for making stock.
- Pour the wine over the birds and let it bubble for a minute or so.
- Add the onion, pancetta, garlic and porcini mushrooms back into the pan with the pigeon.
- Pour in the stock, stir and cover. Simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.
- Remove the pigeon and leave to rest for 15 mins.
- Pour the cooking juices and mushrooms into a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
- Pass through a sieve, season if necessary and spoon over the pigeon and beans at the end.
Assembling the dish
- Place two large spoonfuls of beans on the plates to form a long row.
- Remove the breast from the pigeons (the only part that will be eaten, the remainder is very tough.
- Thinly slice the pigeon breast and lay on the beans.
- I then added steamed Chantenay carrots to each dish.
- Spoon over a little of the sauce from the pan juices.
- Sprinkle with micro garlic chives to add colour and a mild fresh garlic flavour.