Pigeon, Foie Hazelnuts and Fallen Forest Leaves

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A masterpiece from Chef Eneko Atxa at his  3-Michelin Star restaurant Azurmendi  in Spain. A perfectly-cooked pigeon, foie gras and chocolate presented as faux hazelnuts, an earthy mushroom deuxelles, pigeon reduction and real hazelnuts. You’re going to wish for a second serving of this one!

Azurmendi restaurant is located on a hill in the Basque Country in Spain, just outside Bilbao. This beautiful restaurant won the Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2014 by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. I highly recommend it if you are in the area.

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Ingredients

Ingredients for 6 people

Faux Hazelnuts Ingredients

- 1ml (0.034oz) olive oil

- .2 g (0.007oz) garlic

- 20g (0.705oz) chicken livers

- 80g (2.822oz) foie

- 2ml (0.068oz) Armagnac

- 4g (0.141oz) milk chocolate

- 24g (.846oz) dark chocolate

- .2g (0.007oz) bronze powder dye

- .4g (0..014oz) powdered copper dye

- .6g (0.020oz) potato starch

Mushroom Deuxelle Ingredients

- 90g (3.175oz) peeled mushrooms

- 12g (.423oz) minced shallot

- 65ml (2.2oz)  liquid cream

- 9g (0.317oz) butter

- 4g (0..141oz) parmesan cheese

- 10g (0.353oz) Iberian ham

- 6g (0.212oz chives

- 0.320g (0.013oz) agar-agar

- Fine Salt

Pigeon Sauce Ingredients

- 50g (1.764oz) onion

- 30g (1.058oz) red pepper

- 40ml (1.353oz) red wine

- 1g (0.035oz) sugar

- 2 pigeon bones

- xanthan gum to thicken as needed

Other Ingredients

- 3 pigeons of 450g (1lb)

- 80g (2.822oz) of butter Isigny

- 9 natural hazelnuts

- 2 Mushrooms

Preparation

Faux Hazelnuts

1 - Brown the chopped garlic in Brunoise and sauté the chicken livers.

2 - Flambé with Armagnac.

3 - Add to food processor and grind, adding the foie in small cubes.

4 - When blended, add salt and strain.

5 - Refrigerate.

6 - Paint the milk chocolate into the base of the hazelnut molds.

7 - Allow to cool a little.

8 - Paint the rest of the mold with the dark chocolate

9 - Drain well.

10 - Cool and fill with the cream of foie.

11 - Cap the two halves of the mold and freeze.

12 - Mix the potato starch and bronze dye together.

13 - When “hazelnuts” are frozen, unmold and paint with the mixture of dye and potato starch.

Mushroom Deuxelle Preparation

1 - Fry the minced shallot in Brunoise with the butter.

2 - Add the chopped mushroom in the robot-coupe or food processor (it is very important that this not get finely chopped)

3 - Cook about 5 minutes.

4 - Add the cream and allow to reduce.

5 - Add the iberian ham (very finely chopped) and the grated Parmesan.

6 - Add the agar-agar and chopped chives.

7 - Add a pinch of salt.

8-  Set aside.

Pigeon Sauce Preparation

1 - Chop the vegetables and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

2 - Stir fry.

3 - Add the sugar, ground almonds, and red wine and reduce.

4 - Add pigeon bones in pot, cover with water and boil for 3-4 hours over low heat.

5 - Strain with the super-bag or fine sieve covered in cheese cloth and reduce until it’s a dark color.

6 - Thicken with xanthan gum as needed.

Other Ingredients Preparation

1 - With a boning knife, remove the breasts from the pigeons and vacuum pack individually.

2 - Clarify the butter.

3 - Peel the hazelnuts and cut in half.

4 - Slice the mushrooms and dehydrate in food dehydrator.

Assembly

1 - Cook the pigeon breasts in a sous vide bath for 7 minutes at 62.5ºC (144.5°F).

2 - Cool in ice water bath.

3 - 5 minutes before serving, put breasts in butter and keep at 40-42ºC.

5 - Make a quenelle of deuxelle in the center of a wooden plate.

6 - Place a couple of slices of dried mushroom on the plate (not shown in pictures).

7 - Place about 2 faux hazelnuts and 3 pieces of natural hazelnut on each plate.

8 - Drain the pigeon breast well from the butter and cut in half lengthways.

9 - Place a piece on the Deuxelle.

10 - Finish with a spoonful of pigeon sauce on the side.

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