4 large squab pigeons
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
2 shallots, roughly chopped
100ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
150ml veal or beef stock
Salt and pepper
300g dry butter beans, soaked overnight and simmered in water with a bay leaf, a stick of celery but no salt for about two hours until soft
150g wild mushrooms, cleaned
Remove the pigeons' wishbones and neck bones and keep to one side. Divide the shallots between the four pigeon cavities, together with the thyme and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper and push a cocktail stick though the legs to secure.
Fry the removed bones with the roughly chopped shallots for a few minutes, add the brandy, bring to the boil, then add the Madeira and white wine, reduce by half, add the stocks and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and reduce to a slightly thick sauce.
Preheat the oven to 220°C, place the pigeons in a tray, season with salt and pepper and spread the butter over the breasts. Roast in the hot oven for eight minutes, baste with any juices and butter and turn them over to be breast down. Cook for a further four minutes for a pink bird, six to eight minutes for well done.
Remove from the oven and place on a warm tray to rest, pour away any fat, deglaze with the sauce scraping up the goodness left in the tray and strain back into a clean saucepan.
Reheat the butter beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook the wild mushrooms in some hot olive oil and season.
Remove the pigeon legs and cook in the oven for a further four minutes while you carve the breasts. Arrange the beans and mushrooms on four heated plates. Place the breasts on top and finally the legs. Pour the sauce over. When in season garnish with some skinned broad beans.
Bryan Webb, chef-patron, Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, Denbighshire, North Wales.
Taken from Bryan Webb's Kitchen, published by Graffeg. Available in bookshops and online at www.graffeg.com, priced £14.99