4 pigeons, cut into 4
4tbsp olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled and sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
30g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
tsp ground mace
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground cardamom
A good pinch of saffron strands
2tsp tomato purée
1.5 litres chicken stock
30 green olives such as picholine, whole or stoned
2 preserved lemons, quartered
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Season and lightly flour the pigeon pieces. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the pigeon for a couple of minutes on each side until they are nicely brown. Put to one side.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan with a lid, gently cook the onions in the rest of the olive oil with all the spices for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often until they are soft and beginning to colour. You may need to add a little water if they are sticking to the bottom. Add the tomato purée and chicken stock, bring to the boil and season. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the pieces of pigeon and olives and the preserved lemons. Transfer into a tagine or a covered cooking dish and finish in the oven for 1 hour, or until tender. You may need to add more stock during cooking, although a tagine shouldn't have too much liquid.
Taste the sauce and, if necessary, transfer just the sauce to a pan and simmer to thicken it. Return the pigeon pieces and lemons to the sauce, reheat for a few minutes and serve with steamed cous cous. Have a pot of harissa at hand to add some extra spice and heat.
Warner for a special dinner at the HIX Oyster and Fish House on 27 September at 7pm. Valentine Warner will be hosting the evening, showcasing dishes from his new book 'The Good Table', which he will also be signing throughout the evening. Tickets are priced at £40 (includes three-course meal and drink on arrival). Please see the website for more details, hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk, or to book your place contact Lianne on 020-7549 3586 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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