25 mins
Stewed Pigeons (Pigeons en Estouffade) Recipe

Stewed Pigeons (Pigeons en Estouffade)


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Our favourite restaurant on the banks of the river Oise in France is called La Petite Rôtisserie (65, chemin de Halage, 95610 Eragny). A wood fire burns in a large brick fireplace where pigeon, quail or poussin (spring chicken weighing about 1lb - 450g) are gently spit-roasted.

For many, many years, I had avoided pigeon since my memories of it were as an extremely gamey meat that was, frankly, tough and chewy. However, emboldened by a fine bottle of St Estephe, I decided to give it a try at La Petite Rôtisserie and found it to be tender, tasty and mouth-wateringly delicious. So I asked the owner the secret and she said, quite simply, that regular basting to keep the pigeon moist was the trick.

Now I recognise that Pigeons en Estouffade (Stewed Pigeons) are not spit-roast, but the stewing method of cooking keeps them wonderfully moist and tender, so I recommend it to you - with or without a bottle of St Estephe!

      Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients for Stewed Pigeons (Pigeons en Estouffade)

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4:
8 rashers (slices)
streaky bacon
young pigeons (cleaned)
2 oz
2 tablespoons
¼ pint
dry white wine
pickling onions
6 tablespoons
beef stock
salt and pepper
4 oz
button mushrooms
1 tablespoon
chopped parsley
12 - 16
green olives
3 sprigs


How to Cook Stewed Pigeons (Pigeons en Estouffade)

  1. Wrap 2 rashers (slices) of streaky bacon around each pigeon and secure with cooking string. Melt the butter in a pan, add the pigeons and cook for 10 minutes until browned all over. Pour over the brandy and the wine, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the small pickling onions, beef stock and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add the mushrooms and parsley and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a warmed serving dish, garnish with olives and thyme and serve immediately with Okra and Tomatoes.

If you don't have the time or inclination to make a beef stock, just use a stock cube in hot water. But think about making and keeping some stocks in the freezer - you'd be surprised the difference they make.
GRAHAM'S WINE RECOMMENDATION: GrahamA Grenache like Chateauneuf du Pape. Deep, full-bodied and a perfect partner to game and cassoulet.
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