December – Winter. There’s a thin layer of frost this morning, covering the gardens, the houses. The landscape is captivating. Immaculate. Winter has conquered every nook and cranny. The air is bracing.
Walking through the park surrounding the château, we suddenly notice a faint aroma, which titillates the senses and warms the heart. An olfactory awakening. Seiji Nagayama, the chef of Château Palmer, is busy in the kitchen. He’s peeling, cutting, cooking, seasoning… On the menu today is tourte de pigeon – a pigeon pie with ceps and smoked bacon, served with a parsnip purée. A truly festive meal, which Seiji invites us to prepare with him.
Tourte de pigeon – Pigeon Pie (for 4 people):
- 4 whole pigeons
- 1 egg
- 50g of smoked bacon
- 100g of ceps
- 1 puff pastry
- 2 parsnips
- 25g of hazelnut butter
- 50g of semi-skimmed milk
- salt, pepper
Remove the pigeon breasts, take off the skin and season to taste.
Sear the four pigeon breasts then place them in the refrigerator. Once cooled, pass the meat through a grinder with the bacon.
Dice the ceps and fry them. Place them in the refrigerator. Retrieve the ground meat, add ½ of a beaten egg and stir until well mixed. Add the ceps.
Wrap the mixture in the puff pastry and brush it with the other half of the beaten egg so that it will turn a golden brown in the oven. Bake the pie in the oven at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes.
Peel the parsnips and cut them into small pieces. In a saucepan, moisten the parsnips with water and a pinch of salt. Simmer. Add the hazelnut butter and the milk. Once cooked, pass the mixture through a strainer.
All that remains now is to invite your guests to table to savour together this succulent, hearty dish, which pairs marvellously with a Château Palmer 2008. A truly heart-warming holiday meal, to help brave the December chill.