4 squabs (dove or pigeon)
1/2 pound whole unsalted butter
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
5 peaches (white freestone if possible)
2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bouquet garni (10 black peppercorns, 2 thyme springs, 2 bay leaves and 1 slice of fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon superfine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cognac
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
For the peaches: Cut a small "X" on the bottom of each peach and plunge them into boiling water for ten seconds. Transfer the peaches to an ice water bath and allow them to cool. Peel the peaches and cut them in half lengthwise to remove the stones. Be careful not to damage the peach halves. Place eight peach halves to the side and reserve the skins and stones along with the two remaining peach halves for the sauce.
For the squabs: Season the squab inside and outside with salt and pepper. Brush two tablespoons of melted butter over them. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and lightly brown the squabs on all sides. Roast them in a 450 degree oven for twelve minutes. Remove and allow them to rest for ten minutes. Separate the breasts from the carcasses and pour off the fat from the pan.
For the sauce: Place the pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, the shallots, the garlic, the squab carcasses, the reserved peach skins and stones and the two peach halves. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and Grand Marnier. Make sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by two thirds and add the stock and the bouquet. Simmer over gentle heat for twenty minutes while making sure to skim the surface of fat and impurities as needed. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, return it to the pan and reduce until it becomes slightly syrupy. Keep warm.
For the plate: Preheat the broiler to hot. Sprinkle some sugar over the peach halves and glaze them under the hot broiler (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Set them aside. Bias-slice and fan four of the peach halves and place them at the bottom of each plate. Arrange two breasts in the middle of the plates so that the thicker parts are at the top. Place a peach half near the top of the plate. Heat the plates in a very slow oven (250 degrees) for approximately four minutes. Meanwhile, remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in a tablespoon of whole butter. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the hot plates from the oven and spoon the sauce over the squabs. Serve immediately with roasted potatoes and leeks.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
1806 St. Clair Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105