Squab is popular in French traditional cuisine, and in this recipe, it is braised in a savory sauce of red wine, leeks and mushrooms, similar to coq au vin.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
- 4 one-pound squabs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta or blanched bacon
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 chopped celery ribs
- 2 carrots, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 2 chopped leeks, white and pale green parts
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken stock, home-made or packaged (not canned)
- 1 cup red wine
- 8 ounces sliced brown or cremini mushrooms
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Wash and pat the squab dry, then salt and pepper inside and out. Tie each squab's legs together with butcher's twine.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the pancetta. Sauté the pancetta until crisp and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- Put 2 squab at a time in the rendered pancetta fat, breast-side down first, and brown until golden. Turn the squab over, and brown breast-side up. Transfer the browned squab to a platter, then brown the other two squab, and set them aside.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots and leeks to the casserole, and sauté, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, and continue to cook, turning the vegetables and flour for 5 more minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and chicken stock, and raise the heat, constantly stirring as the sauce boils and thickens. Stir in the mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and cooked pancetta, then return the squab to the pot, pouring in any cooking juices that have accumulated on the platter.
- Spoon sauce over the squab, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover the casserole, and simmer 45 minutes. Turn the squab every 15 minutes, basting them with the sauce.
- Serve each squab with some sauce and vegetables.