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Pan-Roasted Squab with Wild Mushroom Risotto

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This is a hearty dish for the fall and winter and a perfect eat-in-front-of-the-fireplace meal. Mushroom-steeped broth gives this risotto an intense mushroom flavor that combines well with the savory golden-brown squab. The squab are pan-cooked in just a little oil and nothing is added to overpower their delicate taste or compete with the flavor of the mushroom risotto. To give the risotto a more intense poultry taste, pour off as much grease as possible from the squab pan juices, deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of chicken stock, and stir into the risotto.

NotesTo cut into serving portions, run a sharp knife down each side of the breastbone, as close to the bone as possible. Cut around each breast until it comes free. Run the knife along the fat that separates the joints, to bring each leg-thigh joint into clear view. Cut at the joint and remove each leg and thigh.

Make-ahead notes:

• The sliced mushrooms can be refrigerated up to 1 day.

• The seared squab can be kept at room temperature up to 45 minutes; finish cooking it when the risotto cooks over low heat.

Makes6 main-course servings

Cooking Methodpan-frying

CostSplurge

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturebuttery, creamy, meaty, savory, tangy, umami

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. For the risotto:

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken stock and the dry mushrooms, if using, over medium heat until the stock is simmering and the mushrooms are soft. Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and simmer just until they are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth at a low simmer.

  3. In a heavy medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and sauté the rice for 1 minute. Add ¼ cup of the simmering mushroom broth and mushrooms to the rice, stirring until it is incorporated. Continue stirring and adding broth ¼ cup at a time until about half the broth and mushrooms have been incorporated. Keep the rice at a gentle simmer.

  4. Add the remaining liquid ½ cup at a time, stirring until most has been incorporated before adding more. When all the broth and mushrooms have been added, reduce the heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.

  5. Taste the rice for doneness. It should have some bite, but not be too hard. If it is not done al dente, stir in additional stock, as needed. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper.

  6. For the squab:

  7. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Season the squab pieces with salt and pepper and place in the pan skin-side down. Sear until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, and turn. Cook the legs an additional 3 to 4 minutes and the breasts an additional 5 minutes, and remove from the pan. The squab will be rare to medium-rare; cook slightly longer for medium. Allow the squab to rest at room temperature 3 to 4 minutes before serving.

  8. To serve:

  9. Stir the risotto and divide among 6 warm plates. Arrange the squab around the risotto.

  10. Variations:

  11. Drizzle risotto with Chive Oil.

  12. If necessary, substitute domestic for wild mushrooms.

  13. For risotto, substitute Pasta with Wild Mushrooms or Wild Rice with Pine Nuts.

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