Squab Pigeon, 12oz-16oz
Head and Feet Attached
Squab Pigeon is a young pigeon, about 4 weeks old and weighs between 12oz-16oz. It is the oldest of farmed poultry and has been served as a delicacy since the beginning. The meat is very tender and is generally used to stuffed whole and baked. You do not get a lot of meat from a squab, but what you do get is dark, lean, and special; its skin, similar to duck skin, is fatty and rich. The fine-grained flesh of the bird is not gamey and is tastier than most poultry. To keep this small bit of poultry moist and tender, avoid overcooking it.
The dark, lean meat lends itself to be paired with an old world Pinot Noir from Burgandy.
Simple Squab Recipe from The Spruce Eats
Like all game birds, Squab needs to be slightly undercooked so it can be served medium rare. Although the USDA recommends cooking game birds to an internal temperature of 180 F, any harmful bacteria are killed at 145 F. Squab is certainly a special-occasion bird, and this easy recipe makes the most of squab's unique flavor.
- 1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter (softened to room temperature and divided)
- 2 large shallots (minced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (chopped)
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 lemon zest (finely grated)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or coarse sea salt)
- 4 squabs (rinsed and dried)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Steps to Make It
- Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
- Beat together 1 stick of butter, shallots, thyme leaves, lemon zest, sea salt and several grinds of freshly ground pepper in a mixing bowl until smooth. Divide into 4 portions.
- Using a couple of fingers, carefully loosen each squabs skin attached to the breast and legs, then work in 1 portion of the butter mixture, spreading it over the breast meat and in between the legs. Stuff the squab's cavity with a thyme sprig, tie its legs together with kitchen string. Sprinkle the Kosher salt and more pepper over the squab. Repeat with the other squab.
- Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Brown the squab on all sides, then transfer to a roasting pan and roast 15 to 20 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the breast without touching bone. At 145 F, remove the squab from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving. (If the temperature is not at 145 F, continue to roast 5 minutes.)