Dining Tip: Hearty Spiced Roast Squab

Chef Scott Gottlich shares one of his most in-demand recipes

Dining Tip: Hearty Spiced Roast Squab
A friendly California Merlot makes the match here. (Andrew Purcell)
Oct 10, 2016

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the Oct. 15, 2016, issue of Wine Spectator, "The Wines of Israel."

Roast Squabs with Beets and Rutabaga-Parsnip Puree

  • Kosher salt to coat pan about 1/5-inch deep, plus more to taste
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 5 cloves garlic, whole, unpeeled
  • 2 bunches red or yellow baby beets
  • 2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • 4 teaspoons chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • Four 1 1/3-pound squabs
  • Pepper to taste

1. Preheat a smoker burning charcoal or a regular oven to 300° F. Scrub the beets.

2. In a casserole dish, mix together the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and 4 cloves garlic. Spread mixture evenly in the dish. Top with the beets and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

3. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If using a smoker, remove foil for the last 30 minutes. Check doneness by piercing the largest beet with a paring knife; it should slide through easily. Peel beets while still hot, covering your hands with paper towels. Trim and halve beets, and keep warm.

4. Preheat oven to 475° F. Place rutabaga, parsnip, onion, remaining 1 clove garlic, milk and butter in a large pot. Simmer until vegetables are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

5. Transfer rutabaga, parsnip, onion and garlic to a blender or food processor, and puree. Slowly add cooking liquid in batches, holding the top down with a kitchen towel, until mixture has reached the desired consistency. Add salt to taste, and set aside in a warm place.

6. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, parsley and thyme. Season squabs with salt and pepper, and brush with the oil mixture.

7. Lightly coat a large, preferably oven-safe saucepan with olive oil, and heat on medium-high. Add squabs, taking care not to crowd the pan, and turn occasionally to brown all sides. Transfer to oven, breast-side up (on a baking sheet if pan isn't oven-safe), and roast for 7 minutes or until breast is medium-rare.

8. Spread some puree on each plate. Place a squab on one side and a few beets on the other. Garnish squabs with chopped parsley. Serves 4.

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