3 tablespoons canola oil
2 ounces ventrèche cut into small pieces
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1½ cups chicken stock
1 small carrot, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 (1-pound) head Savoy cabbage, outer leaves discarded, cut into ½-inch wide shreds
¼ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse or Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Potato Purée (recipe follows)
4 squab, 2 wing joints, neck, giblets, and backbones removed and reserved
2 shallots, finely minced
½ cup dry red wine
¾ cup duck and veal demi-glace
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until onion softens, about 7 minutes. Drain off any fat. Add stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Strain stock into a medium bowl. Dice and reserve bacon.
Meanwhile, cook carrots in a pot of salted boiling water until barely tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook cabbage in boiling salted water over high heat until barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and shock in ice water. Squeeze out all excess moisture from cabbage with your hands.
Bring chicken-bacon stock and cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add cabbage, reserved bacon, and carrots. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Begin preparing Potato Purée (below).
Place squab, breast side up, on work surface. Press down on breast with the heal of your hand to crack the breast keel bone. Coarsely chop reserved bones, gizzards and hearts (not livers), and set aside. Blot birds dry.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season squab with salt and pepper, and place in pan, skin side down, and add the remaining butter. Cook, basting occasionally, until squabs are browned, about 8 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking, basting occasionally, until other side is browned, and breasts are medium-rare, about 4 minutes. Remove to plate, pull out remaining rib bones, and add them to reserved bones. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Add reserved bones and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and stir until they soften, about 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until wine is reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes.
Add stock and collected juices from plate with squab, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer to concentrate flavors, 3 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine strainer, pressing hard on the solids. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon potato purée just off center on 4 warmed plates. Place squab next to potatoes, and spoon cabbage next to it. Spoon sauce around plate and serve.
for Potato Puree
2¼ pounds Idaho or Russet baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 to 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up, (or less, according to personal taste)
½ cup sour cream Coarse or Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Cover potatoes with water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain well.
Return potatoes to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until excess moisture evaporates, and they begin to stick slightly to the bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Pass through a potato ricer or food mill into a larger bowl or, using a potato masher, mash potatoes with butter and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary, keep warm in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Alfred Portale, executive chef-owner, Gotham Bar & Grill, 12 East 12th Street, New York, New York 10003-4498, (212) 620-4020 | D'Artagnan's Glorious Game Cookbook by Ariane Daguin, George Faison, and Joanna Pruess