Fine ragout of young spring chickens and pigeons

(Recipe #144, pages 112 – 113)

4 chickens or 8 pigeons will serve 12. Prepare them as in no. 143 and stew them in butter until done. Brown a knob of fresh butter the size of an egg, add flour and stir until it also brown, but do not let it scorch. Stir the browned flour with the flavorful broth in which the birds were cooked, adding brown stock as necessary, a sliced seeded lemon, some ground nutmeg, pepper, and salt.

As soon as the ragout comes to a boil, add your choice of a small handful of morels, the same amount of chopped fresh or canned mushrooms, 6–8 sliced truffles, ½ pound of veal sweetbreads, ½ pound of chestnuts, ½ point of small sausages sautéed in butter, dumplings made of ½ pound of minced meat, ½ cup of capers, and 1 tablespoon of pistachios. (The way to prepare all this and how long the ragout must cook will be found in section I.) Then place the meat in the ragout, simmer for ¼ hour, and serve. The sauce must be rather thick and flavorful, with only a hint of acidity.

Note: Dumplings cooked in the thick sauce will not become light; it is therefore better to boil them for a few minutes in meat broth or salted water, until the interior no longer appears rare, and then add them to the ragout. As a first course, the ragout can be served by itself or with fried potatoes.

Translated by David Green.


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