Sonoma Squab with Potato-Onion Galette

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Main Ingredient: Game
Menu Part: Entree
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 4

A fragrant blend of seasonings infuses this roasted squab. The tender squab is then nestled among crisp potato galette wedges for a great contrast of flavors and textures.

Ingredients

For the Squab:
4 fresh squab (1 lb. each)
5 juniper berries, crushed
2 bay leaves, crushed
1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1⁄2 tsp. kosher, sea, or coarse salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup sweet white wine

For the Galette:
3 medium onions, sliced very thin
2 bacon strips (11⁄2 oz. each), cut into 1⁄4-in. pieces
1⁄4 cup clarified butter or duck fat
3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 1⁄2 lb. leeks, white part only, cut into 1⁄4-in. rings
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, finely minced
1⁄4 oz. chives, finely minced
4 oz. chopped chevril or flat leaf parsley

Steps

1. Rinse, dry, and tie each squab.

2. Combine juniper berries, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper in a small bowl; mix well and sprinkle over birds, then sprinkle each bird with 2 tbsp. wine. Cover; refrigerate to mari­nate for 4-6 hr. before roasting.

3. Roast in preheated 450°F oven for 10 min. Reduce heat to 325°F and roast another 40-45 min., basting frequently with pan juices and additional wine, until juices are clear and birds are done.

4. For galette, lightly salt onions and cook, covered, until soft. Uncover and raise heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Blanch bacon in boiling water for 30 sec.; drain and mix with onions. Set aside in warm place.

5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt clarified butter or duck fat in 12-in. skillet, then layer potato slices, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Repeat for 3 layers. Cover with buttered parchment or wax paper; place a smaller skillet on top to weigh and press cake as it cooks. Cook over moderate heat until bottom is golden brown. Remove weight and paper. Turn over; place in oven and continue cooking until crisp around edges, tender and golden brown. Remove from oven and keep warm.

6. Just before serving, blanch leeks in boiling, salted water until tender, about 4-5 min. Drain and toss with 1 oz. each butter and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir in minced shallot. Set aside. Immediately spread onions over potato cake. Layer with buttered leeks and sprinkle generously with chives. Cut into wedges. Arrange squab and galette wedges on a serving plate. Sprinkle with fresh chevril.