Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Remembrance....

In Remembrance of September 11, I am posting a recipe that was a favorite at the Windows to the World Restaurant that was on top of the World Trade Center, Roast Squabs.   For those of you who do not know, Squab is actually the city bird of New York City, the Pegion.  I will admit, this is a recipe I have stole from .  There are not too many southerns that have recipes for Squabs to be passed down.  

First, there is a video, that is one of my favorite tributes to that day.  The song is by Bruce Springsteen. My first time in New York, a place I now know as my second home, was about a month after September 11th.  To this day I can close my eyes and see the city covered with home-made missing posters and smell the dust that covered the city.  

For me, I will remember by celebrating and preparing Squabs for the first time!  

Roast Squabs
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (10-inch) round or oval sourdough loaf (1 1/2 lb), crust discarded
  • 9 fresh porcini (cèpes; 3/4 lb), trimmed
  • 3 (1-lb) squabs
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons garlic confit purée
  • 6 tablespoons strained duck fat (from garlic confit purée)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Special equipment:

    kitchen string
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Bring 2 cups water, garlic, and 1 teaspoon sea salt to a boil, then drain in a colander. Blanch garlic in same manner 2 more times.
  • Cut bread into 1/4-inch-thick sticks and toast on a baking sheet in middle of oven until pale golden, about 6 minutes. Leave oven on.
  • Peel stems of porcini with a sharp small knife just until white flesh is exposed, then quarter mushrooms lengthwise.
  • Pat squabs dry and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Put a sprig of thyme in cavity of each squab and divide garlic confit among cavities. Tie legs of squabs together with kitchen string and fold wings back.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown squabs in 2 batches, turning, about 5 minutes, transferring to a plate and reserving skillet.
  • Add 1 1/2 more tablespoons duck fat to skillet and sauté porcini in 2 batches over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes (add another 1 1/2 tablespoons duck fat to skillet for second batch). Stir in blanched garlic, toasted bread, and salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
  • Put a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan on bottom rack of oven (to catch drips) and arrange squabs, breast sides up, in a small circle (without touching) on middle rack of oven directly above baking pan. Roast squabs, carefully basting once with remaining tablespoon duck fat, 15 minutes. Replace baking pan with skillet of bread salad, positioning it directly under birds. Roast squabs and bread salad until an instant-read thermometer inserted in fleshy part of a thigh (avoid bone) registers 155°F for medium meat and mushrooms in bread salad are tender, about 5 minutes. (If mushrooms are not tender, roast bread salad 5 to 8 minutes more.) Transfer squabs to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes, then halve lengthwise with poultry shears or a sharp knife.
  • Toss bread salad with parsley and lemon juice and serve with squabs.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Squabs may be stuffed and tied 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Pat dry just before browning.
  • Bread may be toasted 2 days ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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