In this dish, the recipe for which is based on one in Game: A Cookbook by Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies (Absolute Press, 2009), smoky braised peas pair perfectly with pan-roasted squab.
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 oz. bacon, cut into thin strips
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄2 cup red wine
- 8 oz. fresh or frozen peas, thawed
- 2 oz. escarole, thinly sliced crosswise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 squabs
Heat oven to 400°. Melt 1 tbsp. butter and oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to crisp. Add shallots, garlic, and sage and cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to combine; cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste begins to stick to bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter, season with salt and pepper, and set aside; keep warm.
Season squabs all over with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Heat remaining butter in a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add squabs on their sides and cook, turning occasionally, until squabs are browned all over, about 16 minutes. Turn squabs breast up and transfer to the oven; roast for 5 minutes, transfer to a rack, and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, transfer peas to a platter and arrange squabs on top.