Three thumbs up for the Toulouse-Lautrec recipe. It was a hit with the boys.
Here’s the original recipe followed by my adaptation and some not so appealing pictures. Caution: this recipe is extremely fattening.
Young Wild Pigeon with Olives
"Table some young pigeons, empty them and into the inside put a stuffing of beef, veal, sausage meat – seasoned with aromatic pepper – nutmeg, and sliced truffles. Tie them up and let them brown briskly in a heavy shallow pan. Then put into a saucepan, bacon, shallot, onion and make a light roux with flour. Add salt, pepper, a bouquet garni. Put in the pigeons, moisten with good bouillon. Let them simmer gently for just under an hour with the saucepan covered. In the last 20 minutes add some pitted green olives which have been desalted and a glass of cognac. Let them braise well and reduce.
Serve the birds on a dish surrounded by the olives and covered with the thick strained sauce which ought to be rich and thick."*
And my version:
Rinse and pat dry a small chicken. Stuff it with the meat of 2 herb sausages mixed with ½ tsp ground nutmeg.
Tie the chicken up and brown on all sides in heavy shallow saucepan in about 1 tbsp oil. (This was hard)
Remove chicken from pan and set on a plate.
Then fry about 5 slices of bacon, cut up into inch lengths.
Add 1 chopped medium onion. Fry until soft.
Add about 2 tbsps of flour and make a light roux. Scrape all the bacon-y, onion-y goodness of the bottom of the pan.
Add salt, pepper, a bouquet garni. (I have some herbs called Herbes de Provence which I put in a tea-ball)
Return the chicken to the pan along with 2 cups of chicken stock.
Simmer gently for about 1hour and 15 minutes with the saucepan covered. Pour the sauce over the top of the bird a few times during cooking.
In the last 20 minutes add some rinsed pitted green olives and ½ cup apple juice.
Frying the bacon and onions
We all enjoyed this and found it a nice change from the usual fair. The chicken was very tender and and extremely easy to carve. The sausage stuffing made its own patty which I divided between us. Tasty, but too salty. The sauce was thick and delicious. I arranged the chicken on our plates with the olives nestled around it and drizzled sauce on top. We had mashed potatoes and broccoli too.
We have leftover sauce too. It’s too good to go to waste - so after I skim it, we’ll probably have it with pasta tonight.
I may try Toulouse-Lautrec's recipes on subsequent Sundays. It was a success. Maybe I’ll try the Rum Pie. Mmmm.
*Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice Joyant, The Art of Cuisine, Henry Holt; New York, 1966.
Originally published in France as Le Cuisine de Monsieur Momo, 1930