This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
" Pigeons, quails, and other dark-fleshed birds have the reputation af being a heating diet, which is probably correct. But, however that may be, one epicurean rule holds good with pigeons, which is, whatever recipes may be given to serve hot, in all forms they are better eaten cold. There are, in fact, only two orthodox ways of cooking pigeons, namely, in a baked pie, and in a boiled pie, or pigeon pudding".
Have a great reputation and serve a good purpose as a substitute for game. Old pigeons are really good only in one way, that is, "jugged" or potted, which means cooked in a covered jar in the oven for several hours.
Bordeaux pigeons may now be seen in the markets in boxes of 12, as large and plump as partridges. We cannot understand why the farmers of France are allowed to retain a monopoly in fattening pigeons for the table; surely there is an opening here for our own people.
Pluck, draw, singe, and truss your pigeons; beat them until flat, and warm in melted butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. When nearly cooked, remove the pigeons, sprinkle them with breadcrumbs and broil over a moderate fire until a good color. Dish up, covered with piquante sauce.
Specialty. One of the special dishes of the Cafe de Paris, in the Avenue de l'Opera, is pig-eon au riz aux tomates, and this dish is prepared as follows: Sautez in butter two pigeons, add salt and 3 fine tomatoes cut in 4, pipped and peeled. Meanwhile fry in butter 2 finely minced onions, and when- these are of a nice golden color add 200 grammes of picked rice. Continue warming your rice for 2 or 3 minutes, then moisten with a pipt of clear bouillon; allow the whole to cook for 20 minutes, withdraw the pigeons, and add the rice. This dish should be served at once.
Cut the birds in half, steep in a highly spiced wine marinade, let them lie for 12 hours. The last hour place on the hot plate, so that they may be half cooked; then drain, wipe the birds dry, wrap in a vine leaf, drawing the stalk through the tip of the leaf, dip into a batter and fry. Garnish with fried parsley; brown gravy.
Bone the pigeons, stuff with veal and ham forcemeat highly seasoned; press the birds into deep, brown earthenware dishes, cover with butter well seasoned with mignonette pepper, mace and allspice. When the birds are cooked, lift them carefully out, and whilst hot press into oval pots. To dish, turn out on to dishes covered with lace paper; garnish with light endive, capers and pickled chillies.
Stewed pigeons, meat pounded through a seive, mixed with cream and yolks and seasonings over the fire. Layere of aspic jelly and layers of pigeon purde alternately in a mould, made cold, turned out and decorated.
Bottom of baking dish covered with thin beefsteak, halves of pigeon on that, hard-boiled yolks, forcemeat balls, mushrooms, thin slices of bacon, strong beef gravy, crust of pastry on top, baked 1 1/2 hours.
Partly fried in butter, slice of lean ham, mushrooms, stock, herbs, seasonings and wine, stewed together until the sauce is rich enough for gravy.
Cover young pigeons with vine leaves, wrap them up in bacon and roast for 1/2 hour. Serve with their own gravy, and garnish with water cresses.
Breasts of pigeons coated with Duxelles sauce, breaded and fried; Provencale sauce and mushrooms.
Breasts of pigeons breaded and fried, piece of bone stuck in to imitate a cutlet; game sauce.
Are also made of the halves of pigeons boned, except the leg bone, which represents the cutlet bone, as above, with green peas.