I ate pigeon

September 26, 2010 By: erik Category: Food, Offspring, Spain, Weird 624 views

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Pigeon with RiceOn Sunday we were invited to a meal where the main course was pigeon. Yes, in Spain, people eat pigeons. As far as I know, most of the pigeons that are eaten are raised especially for that purpose, and aren’t just captured with a net or hunted with a BB gun in the local town hall square. There’s a reason pigeons are called “flying rats”.

What follows are some photos I took this weekend, not all related to the pigeon stew.

Ready for school. Or hitchhiking.

Upon arrival to her grandparents’ house, Nora was given a brand new backpack. It features Dora the Explorer (Dora Exploradora, in Spanish) on the back. We were aware of the similarity of her name to that character back when we picked her name. There are already some kids at her daycare that call her “Nora Exploradora“. There are much worse things to be called, if you ask me.

Ready for school. Or hitchhiking.

Notice the mischievous glance as she grabs both her mother’s and grandmother’s mobile phones. She wore her new backpack around the house for a good long while and only doffed it reluctantly.

Motorcycle Nora

“Riding” a motorcycle.

Out for a stroll

Out for a stroll. She’s really loves pushing her toy stroller around. It does make for a slow pace on walks, though. This was the first time the toy stroller has been outside on the street.

Pushing a stroller is easier if someone is carrying you both

Of course pushing the stroller around is a lot easier if you can get someone to carry you and the stroller.

Maple Leaf Autumnal Symbolism

This maple leaf symbolizes what the weather is like now. The summer of 2010 is clearly a thing of the past.

Morning Bakery Run FTW!

Nora slept only six of her normal eleven hours on Saturday night, so when she got cranky on Sunday morning, I took her out in her stroller, as it’s the only way to get her to fall asleep sometimes. Later her mother joined me, and we went for a lovely morning walk, watching the town wake up. On the way home we stopped at a bakery and got a fresh sweet roll for Nora, which she loved.

Pigeon Stew

Pigeon stew. The sauce was WONDERFUL! It had just the right mix of spices to give it a little spicy aftertaste. Unfortunately the taste was muted once the rice was added to make the final product. I think they said there were six pigeons in this pot.

Quail Eggs

What else would you have with pigeon stew, but a salad with hardboiled quail eggs?

Quail Egg Salad

The quail egg salad was wonderful. It also contained finely chopped tomatoes, onions, green peppers, red peppers, and garlic. This was my favorite dish of the day.

Alejo puts on a bib

Alejo, the chef for the meal, showed Nora how to make a makeshift bib from a tea towel.

Pigeon with Rice

The final dish. Nothing like rice to stretch a meat dish to feed ten people. I had a half pigeon on my plate. Despite the “tastes like chicken” cliché, I’m going there: It was very similar to chicken, but with a darker, tougher meat. I suspect that it’s close to what chickens tasted like before we began millennia of selective breeding to make them the delicious beasts they are today.

Playing with Chloe

Nora sort of letting her cousin Chloé play with her stroller. Chloé is five (?) months younger than Nora, and five kilograms heavier. She’s walking with a grownup’s hand for balance, like Nora was for several long backbreaking months.

So there you have it. I ate a flying rat, with rice. Part of being an expat is trying new things almost all the time.

  • uncle Neil

    I have raised my own meat chickens, egg layers, and pigeons. I really grew to dislike cleaning birds, other than ruffed grouse, but I did for quite a few years. I prefer raising rabbits for meat. They are almost pleasant to clean for the table compared to chickens. Chickens bred for meat have to be killed on a timeline of weeks old. In the USA producers raise them up within a space of about one square foot. This combination makes them very tender and cost effective. I lost many because they became too heavy to young to walk to the water and feeder. Those that don’t cripple quickly become 12 pounds. Multi-purpose chickens I have raised become too tough for me. Home raised eggs are most wonderful with bright yellow yolk and shells you really have to wack to crack and flavor unlike anything in the stores here. I was not aware that home raised pigeons were rare in your background. We have raised mostly Rollers. Most all types of pigeons take care of themselves pretty much while happily returning to roost. Most people keep them like that which is much different than those factory cage raised chickens. Twenty-five years ago Barb fried a multi-purpose chicken I raised free range from a chick for her parents visiting. It was so tough my father in law couldn’t get a single bite. I’ll never forget sitting across the table from him trying as hard as he could for the longest time. It was so tough he never got one single bite. I am eating one of those one foot square caged raised six week old chickens right now with home grown squash, salad, and apples.

  • Pigeon’s quite common here in Belgium too. In fact the guy who lives opposite us raises them, and we’ve never seen them racing so we assume that he supplies a local restaurant. I’d say it tastes more like duck or guinea fowl than chicken.

  • Paige

    I have come across your site because I am searching for the name and ingredients of a salad that I ate in Barcelona. I hope that you can assist me. The salad was very simple. There were diced tomatoes, red onions, seafood (squid, some other one), and cilantro or mint. So simple, but oh so flavorful!