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Squab Pigeon on Masterchef Ireland

Mary Carney from Waterford won the title of MasterChef Ireland. McCarthys were delighted that to see their renowned black pudding included in her star dish. 28-year-old Carney from Waterford wowed McGrath and Munier with her final three-course meal serving a warm lobster salad, squab pigeon which seemed to particularly impress and a summer berry plate. Mary, who is a telecommunications policy and strategy advisor with a large telecommunications company, credits her mother with teaching her how to cook.
For the water bath squab:
Smoked bacon
Blend of coriander seeds and black pepper
4 squab
Dark Chicken Stock

For the pea puree:
2 packs of frozen petits pois
2 bags of fresh peas
4 Garlic cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken Stock
Sherry Vinegar

For the crumb:
Jack McCarthy’s Black Pudding
400g of Walnuts – shelled preferably

For the braised spring onions:
Water/butter for an emulsion
6 bunches of spring onions

For the crispy bacon:
20 slices of smoked bacon

For the pigeon glaze:
Truffle honey
Dijon mustard

For the pigeon jus
Dark Chicken stock
Sherry vinegar

For decoration:
Flowering pea shoots
Borage flowers

Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees.

For the spring onions: Prepare the spring onions, blanch and set in iced water. Closer to service, warm and cook through both spring onions and blanched peas in a water butter emulsion.

For the crumb: Cook the walnuts at 150 degrees for 15 minutes, remove and peel. Pan fry black pudding until crisp.

For the peas: Cook fresh peas in salted water, remove skins and set in ice cold water. Cook garlic in olive oil and allow to infuse. Cook frozen peas in water for 4 minutes. Blitz frozen peas for 5 minutes, with some light chicken stock, pass through a chinois and add garlic oil to taste, salt and sherry vinegar. Set peas on a bowl of ice to maintain colour.

For the glaze: Mix equal quantities of dijon mustard with truffle honey and set aside.

For the pigeon: Prepare the pigeon pieces and set in 2 vac pac bags with a few thyme sprigs, two slices of smoked bacon, a couple of tablespoons of port and a few knobs of butter. Place in a water bath at 61 degrees celsius for 2 hours. Remove from bag, reserving juices. Pass juices through muslin and reserve for sauce. Using a pastry brush generously paste glaze on to pigeon and place under the grill on high for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown.

For the pigeon livers: Season livers just before cooking and pan fry in oil and butter for 2 minutes each side on a medium heat.

For the crisp bacon : Crisp bacon under the grill.

For the pigeon jus: Strain the reserved juice into a muslin cloth and allow to boil gently. Add chicken stock and sherry vinegar to taste. Serve alongside the pigeon in a jug.

Finish: Place crumbled pudding and walnuts on to pigeon. Set squab on top of pea puree, scatter with blanched peas and place the onions alongside. Place crisp bacon on the place. Decorate with borage flowers and pea shoots.

Equipment needed:
Two chopping boards
Plastic gloves
Five small metal trays which can be placed under the grill
4 saucepans
Water bath set to 61 degrees
Oven preheated to 150 degrees
Le Micro Blender
Non stick frying pan
Chinoise – or flat chinoise preferrrably
Hand blender
Bowl of ice in freezer