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Pigeons with Chicory

Preparation time : 20 minutes,
Cooking time : 21/4 hours,
Calories per serving: 620

ingredients

serves 4
4 pigeons
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
4 rashers lean bacon
2 leeks
2 chicory heads
4 fl oz (115 ml) chicken stock
1 bouquet garni
3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Gently heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole and fry the pigeons until well browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

2. Remove the rinds from the bacon and cut the rashers into pieces. Lower the heat, add the bacon to the dish and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and trim the leeks and then cut them in half, once widthways and again lengthways, to provide 8 pieces. Add the leek to the dish and cook gently for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Wash the chicory heads, discarding any wilted outer leaves, and halve them lengthways. Add the chicory heads to the dish. Stir the mixture well, and then cover the dish tightly and cook gently for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Pour over the chicken stock and add the bouquet garni. Place the pigeons on top of the chicory and leeks, cover again and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Preheat a large serving dish.

5. Remove the casserole from the oven and lift the pigeons onto the heated serving dish. Remove the leeks and chicory with a draining spoon and arrange around the birds. Cover and keep warm.

6. Boil the liquid remaining in the dish rapidly over a high heat until it has reduced by half. Turn the heat down and add the redcurrant jelly. Stir until the jelly has melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the sauce separately.

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