Variation of wild french pigeon, veal sweetbread and pearl barley


This recipe is not perfect for home cooking because it is quite difficult. So rather take it as an inspiration. I cooked it for a friend who was working putting on some shelves in our place and he was quite impressed. He probably doesn’t cook pigeon and sweetbreads at home very often.

 For 2 portions:

1 pigeon  (350 – 400 g)
30 g veal sweetbread
200g pearl barley
20 g pancetta 
1 onion
1/3 cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
3 dcl chicken stock
60 ml chicken jus
little flour
little white wine
rosemary, bayleaf, thyme

The pigeon must be properly cleaned. In the restaurant we usually rinse it with clean water, blowtorch the hairs, separate the legs and take out the wish bone. We usually roast birds on the bone, it’s a great way to achieve ideal temperature.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this recipe is quite complicated,  so I made a good preparation in advance. The base are the pigeon’s confit legs (salted, peppered and cured with herbs/rosemary, thyme and pinch of juniper). We put them in hot duck fat and cooked them for two hours at a temperature lower than 100 degrees. Then I prepared boneless pigeon breast with skin on, cooked and cleaned veal sweetbreads and chicken jus (hopefully we get there later). 

First, we cook the barley. Sweat finely chopped onions with diced pancetta, add a clove of garlic and then add the barley. Pour a little bit of white wine, let it reduce and then add the chicken stock. Cook until tender, then season with salt, finely chopped garlic and chopped thyme . Pearl barley are grinded and so they cook shorter time than normal barley: but the taste is incredible. On the other hand, the price compared to classic one is ridiculously high.

Coat the sweetbreads in flour, seasoning and fry until golden brown in a hot pan. Then fry the breasts on the skin, season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary and garlic (we will remove these after cooking). The temperature is perfect medium rare, but personally I prefer it cooked rare. 

Legs are fine just to fry on the skin side down and finish in the oven. I chopped the cucumber in square shapes and sliced the skin finely. I am a big fan of crunchy things probably like most people (I found out that if I put something “crunchy ” on the menu I can expect increase of sales almost immediately). Quickly fry the cucumber in a pan. Then just arrange everything on a plate and add the hot chicken jus. Enjoy your meal!