Country Kitchen recipe: Pigeon, aubergine and rice stack

PUBLISHED: 15:18 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:18 13 October 2016

This makes two very generous servings

This makes two very generous servings

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Jane Price reinvents an old favourite for a quick supper

Ingredients:

4 pigeon breasts

1 large aubergine, sliced into 1cm slices

Salt

Vegetable oil for frying

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

200g long-grain rice

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Method:

1) Lay the aubergine slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Leave for an hour to let the salt bring out the excess moisture. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper.

2) Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and fry the aubergine slices until golden.

3) In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and fry the chopped onions until soft.

4) Add the pigeon breasts and cook for a couple of minutes until browned. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

5) In a casserole dish, layer the aubergines with the pigeon and onion mix, add two spoons of rice between each layer.

6) Pour enough boiling water on top to cover all of the rice completely. Cover the dish, using foil if your dish doesn’t have a lid.

7) Put the dish on an oven tray, add half an inch of boiling water to the tray and place in the oven at 180 degrees, for 45 minutes.

8) Serve directly from the dish or turn out onto a plate to serve.

Cook’s comments:

Phill loves eating pigeon, and I have cooked it many times over the years. I have a few favourite recipes I can put together in a few minutes without looking up the ingredients in a book, but this time I wanted to make something different. I especially wanted to cook with aubergine because I don’t use it often. The aubergines in the local supermarket looked so fresh and glossy with gorgeous, leathery, purple skins, I couldn’t resist putting one in my trolley.

For this recipe I have kept it simple, with only three main ingredients – pigeon, aubergine and rice. You can add mushrooms, peppers, courgettes or even bacon, which would all add flavour and could be used in place of some of the rice. I have used balsamic vinegar to add flavour and saltiness, but feel free to try different herbs and spices, such as chilli, or give it a Moroccan twist by adding some dried fruit.

Aubergine holds a lot of water, so you need to remove the excess by covering in salt for a while, then rinse and dry before cooking. This is a good way to prepare it for frying otherwise it would be too wet, and once fried, the texture allows it to hold together better.

I was a little nervous at tipping the bowl out onto the plate, but it came out in one piece because the rice held everything together. This would be a good way to serve at the table for friends, or you could make individual servings if you have smaller dishes. I’m pleased with this recipe – there was an oiliness from cooking the onions, which worked well with the saltiness from the balsamic. The overall texture with the rice made it a good scoffy meal to eat from a bowl in front of the telly.

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