Jane Price rediscovers an oldfashioned flavouring for pigeon
The word ‘ liquorice’ conjures memories from the ‘ 70s, of coming back from the shops with a sherbet fountain, with the sticky black liquorice stick in the middle, or the brightly coloured bags of allsorts, but that all changed when Nigella sat on the stairs in her London home and showed us her treasure chest full of different types of liquorice, from syrups and gums to powders, that could be use in ‘all sorts’ (!) of recipes, and she was clearly passionate about this herb that we have only really ever thought of as confectionery flavouring.
After that inspiration from Nigella,
I looked in my local supermarket for any form of liquorice for cooking, with no luck, and the health food shop only stocked liquorice gums. The answer, as always, was to buy online, and the dried liquorice root powder arrived in a couple of days. There are very few meat recipes using liquorice and none that I could find for pigeon, and I think this is a big shame because the flavour really suits game, and especially pigeon. I really love the way this rich sauce complements the meat here. You need to make sure there is some sweetness added to the sauce because this brings out the liquorice flavour, and I have used redcurrant jelly in this recipe for that purpose. I have used the liquorice root powder in the marinade to flavour the meat, and also to the sauce, and this worked really well. In fact, this is one of my favourite recipes for the magazine so far, and makes me wonder how many old flavours are out there that can be used in a new way. Watch this space!
Left: This one was delicious: Phill and I loved it Below: Flavour is what this recipe is all about