Pigeon Caramelized with Trehalose

Adapted by StarChefs.com
May 2009
Yield: 4-6 Servings


Red Wine Pigeon Reduction
3 liters Red wine
775 milliliters port wine
1 kilogram pigeon bones and legs
Seasonal Citrus rind (Narisawa uses daidai orange and yuzu)
200 grams carrots, chopped
100 grams onions, chopped
50 grams celery, chopped
120 grams shallot, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
100 milliliters Madeira
400 milliliters port wine
1 vanilla bean
1 pigeon, cleaned and de-boned
olive oil


For the Red Wine Pigeon Reduction:
In separate pots, heat the red wine and Port until the alcohol is evaporated and cool. Combine the red wine and port in a large pot, add the pigeon bones and legs, citrus rind, carrots, onion, celery, shallot, bay leaf, and peppercorns, and cool completely. Put in a steam oven for 6 hours at 95°C/203°F.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Strain once to remove the solids, and then again through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to strain out the impurities. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to 500 milliliters; reserve 100 milliliters of the reduction for use on the pigeon skin. In separate pots, heat the Madeira and Port until the alcohol is evaporated; add to the red wine pigeon reduction. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the vanilla bean, and cool.

For the Pigeon:
Heat the olive oil to 200°C/392°F in a frying pan, and add the pigeon, turning to just sear the skin. The aim is to cook just the skin—not the meat inside—and to lightly fry the fat under the skin. This should be done very quickly to ensure that the meat of the pigeon does not go above 60°C/140°F.

When skin is seared, remove the pigeon from the pan and let it rest. Add the olive oil and butter to another frying pan and add the pigeon. Let the skin get up to 80°C/176°F, and then slowly lower heat, cooking until the center of the meat is at 55°C/131°F. Remove from the heat; brush the skin with the reserved red wine pigeon reduction and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle skin with trehalose (a natural sugar) and use a torch to caramelize the sugar all over the skin.

To Assemble and Serve:
Slice the pigeon breast into one large slice per person and serve with the red wine pigeon reduction on the side.