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Pan-Roasted Squab with Salsify
Four servings

4 squab (substitute Cornish game hens if squab are unavailable)
1 large carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 quarts chicken stock or reduced-salt broth
1 branch fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
3 large shallots, diced
1/4 pound bing cherries, pits removed
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound salsify (substitute parsnips)
2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 bunches fresh spinach

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut (or have the butcher cut) legs and
breast meat with wings attached from the carcass of each squab.
Cut off wing tips. Cover breast and leg pieces and refrigerate.
Place carcasses and wing tips in a roasting pan and cook in the
oven until well browned.

Add diced carrot, celery and onion to the pan and continue to roast
until vegetables are soft. Reserve 3/4 cup of chicken stock and
add the remainder to the pan along with the thyme. Lower heat to
375 degrees and simmer stock for 2 to 3 hours. Strain through a
fine sieve. There should be about 4 cups of strained stock. If
there is more, pour the stock into a saucepan and boil atop the
stove until reduced to 4 cups.

In a saucepan, cook shallots in 1 tablespoon butter until softened.
Add cherries and cover with red wine. Raise heat and boil wine
until almost completely evaporated. Add strained squab stock and
cook at a brisk simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about
2 cups. This will take an hour or more. Season to taste with salt
and pepper.

Peel salsify, placing peeled stalks in water with 2 tablespoons
lemon juice or white vinegar. Slice salsify crosswise into thin
rounds and dry on paper towels. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a
large sauce pan. Add salsify and turn to coat with butter. Add
1/2 cup reserved stock and simmer until salsify is tender. Keep

Return oven to 450 degrees. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter
and 1 tablespoon oil in an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold
the squab pieces in a single layer. (If necessary, use 2 skillets.)
Brown pieces on all sides, then remove breast pieces. Place skillet
in the oven and cook legs for 5 minutes. Add breast meat and cook
for 3 to 5 minutes, or until medium rare. Remove from oven and let
meat rest, loosely covered for about 5 minutes. (If using Cornish
game hens, cook until completely done.)

Meanwhile, return salsify to the heat. Add spinach and remaining
1/4 cup stock, cover pan and steam, tossing once or twice, until
spinach is completely wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make a bed of spinach and salsify in the center of each plate. Pour
or spoon cherry sauce around the spinach bed and arrange 2 squab
breasts and 2 legs atop sauce on each plate. Serve with a sangiovese
wine such as Atlas Peak.


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