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Stephen's Roast Squab with Seville Orange Confit

Chef Stephen Kalt, owner of New York City's Spartina restaurant, developed this Passover recipe as a pleasant departure from more traditional fare such as brisket or chicken. Seville oranges are available in gourmet markets in March and April; if necessary, you can substitute equal parts freshly squeezed lemon and orange juices.

  • Servings: 6
Stephen's Roast Squab with Seville Orange Confit

Ingredients

For the Squab

  • 3 whole squab, (1 pound each), or Cornish game hens
  • 1/2 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, 2 minced and 1 roughly chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, 2 minced and 5 whole, unpeeled
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • Zest of 1 Seville orange, peeled, pith removed and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 2 seville oranges, (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups veal stock, Homemade Chicken Stock, or low-sodium canned chicken stock
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Confit

  • 1 Seville orange, peeled, pith removed, and finely minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. To make the squab: Place a squab on a work surface, and with a sharp knife, remove wings and cut each wing into two pieces. Cut neck from body, and cut the body in half. Remove backbone. Split the squab in half through the breastbone. Cut off the first joint of each leg of the squab. Set all squab bones aside. Make a small slit in the excess skin of the breast. Tuck the end of the leg into this slit. Place the halved squabs in a shallow baking dish.

  2. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, minced shallots, minced garlic, thyme, and orange strips to the baking dish, tossing to combine. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.

  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. When just beginning to smoke, add reserved squab bones, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add 5 cloves unpeeled garlic and roughly chopped shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

  4. Add sherry vinegar and honey, and stir to combine. Cook until pan is dry. Add orange juice, and cook until reduced and syrupy. Transfer to a small saucepan. Add veal stock, and reduce heat to low, simmering very slowly for 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain through a fine sieve, pushing hard on the solids. Whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove squab from marinade. Season both sides of the squab with salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Add squab, skin side down, to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute, reduce heat to medium, and cook until squab is brown, about 3 minutes. Turn squab, and place skillet in oven; roast for 8 to 10 minutes.

  6. While the squab is roasting, make the confit: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add minced orange, and blanch for 2 minutes; strain. In another small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and sugar to a boil; add blanched orange peel. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

  7. Remove squab from oven, and serve with sauce and orange confit drizzled over squab.

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