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Kentish Pigeons with Plums

Meats - Game

Whole dressed pigeons baked in a pot with chopped onion and whole plums.

Although this is often presented as a distictly local dish, rich pigeon-and-fruit pot dishes such as 'Pigeons aux prunes' or 'Feuilletés de pigeon aux mirabelles' are well-known as festival foods just across from the Kentish coast in France.

Pigeons aux prunes et aux pignons

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Kentish Pigeons with Plums

25g (1 oz) butter
15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
4 young pigeons, prepared
10ml (2 tsp) plain wholemeal flour
1 medium onion, skinned and chopped
2 cloves
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) or 1 tsp dried
100ml (4 fl oz) port
450g (1 lb) purple plums, stoned and halved
Salt & pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan.
2. Coat the pigeons lightly in the flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the pan and fry, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole.
3. Stir the onion into the frying pan and fry gently until beginning to soften. Spoon over the pigeons, then sprinkle the cloves and herbs over the top.
4. Stir the port into the frying pan, bring to the boil, then pour over the pigeons.
5. Arrange the plums over the top. Cover tightly and bake at 170°C for 1½ hours, until the pigeons are tender.
6. Transfer the pigeons and plums to a warmed serving platter.
7. Boil the juices for 2-3 minutes to thicken them and concentrate the flavour.
8. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then pour over the pigeons. Serve at once.

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