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Orange-braised Pigeons In Nests and Spring Greens

2 Prepared fresh or frozen wood pigeons
50 g Butter; (2oz)
50 g Onion; chopped finely (2oz)
1 lg Cloves garlic; chopped (1 to 2)
1 Dessertspoon grated orange rind
6 Dessertspoons fresh orange juice
2 Dessertspoons fresh lemon juice
1 Fresh bay leaf
225 g Trimmed spring greens; (8oz)

Press firmly down on the breasts of the pigeons to snap the rib cages and flatten them slightly. Cut out the back bones with kitchen scissors, leaving the rest of the ribs and the legs on, and open the pigeons as flat as possible. Trim off loose pieces of skin and pat dry all over.

Melt the butter over a medium heat and cook the chopped onion and garlic until soft, but avoid browning. Add the orange rind and citrus juices and continue cooking uncovered until most of the juices have evaporated. Push the onion to one side and then lightly brown the pigeon breasts. Redistribute the onion, turn the pigeon breasts uppermost and add the bay leaf; then cover and braise over a medium to low heat for 35-45 minutes, basting with the orange butter from time to time.

About 15 minutes before serving, wash and slice the greens thinly and cook in a little boiling salted water until wilted and soft, but still a bright green. Arrange in a circle on two hot plates. Place a pigeon in the middle of each and then strain the cooking liquid (discarding the onions) over the greens.

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