Lillet blanc is for me a most versatile French aperitif wine. Made famous when it was originally branded as Kina Lillet in Vesper’s eponymous cocktail in Flemming’s Casino Royale, it is a most underused of drinks that works fabulously as a mixer. I have used it here in a piquant sauce reduction.
This recipe makes a dinner for four people
For the Lillet Blanc reduction
(100mls) sherry vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
7 fl oz (200 mls) Lillet Blanc
7 fl oz (200 mls) chicken stock
1 tbsp flour
In a small frying pan or skillet, dissolve the sugar in half the sherry vinegar, add the Lillet blanc and reduce by 3/4 or until the liquid becomes quite syrupy. Take the pan off the heat and add in the other half of the vinegar.
For the pigeon breasts
8 pigeon breasts
3 tbsp of goose or duck fat
5 oz (150 gms) smoked pancetta
4 chicken livers, minced (optional)
5 oz (150 gms) shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced
Sauté the pigeon breasts in a large frying pan until they are seared and just turned brown. add the pancetta, livers (if using) and mushrooms and sauté the contents until they appear to be cooked. Add the Lillet Blanc reduction and stir until the contents of the pan are glazed in the sauce.
Completing the dish
Make a base of pea shoots in a dish. In the centre of this, add a layer of glazed pancetta and mushrooms, then layer the breasts on top of this. Pour some retained glaze over the breasts and serve.