John Pleshette’s Bejing Squab

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I love John Pleshette’s recipes – they are always seasonal and delicious.  He’s an actor and a foodie who shares with us his weekly recipes.

Bejing Squab

Bejing Squab

Serves 2

2 squab, giblets reserved

1 clove of garlic

2 scallions

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

tangerine peel

1/4 tsp. powdered star anise or 5-spice powder

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

soy sauce


peanut oil

small head of green cabbage, cut in 8 wedges

medium turnips


1 lemon

Mince together garlic, scallions, ginger, and the zest from half a medium tangerine to make a dry marinade.

Place in a bowl.  Mix in powdered star anise, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Dry squab with paper towels.  Smear with dry marinade.  Place squab in a bowl, shallow dish or bamboo steamer.

If you don’t have a steamer, place a sturdy ceramic bowl upside down in the bottom of a pasta pot.  Set the dish with the squab on top of the bowl.  Fill pot with 3 inches of water.

Cover and steam for 20 minutes.  Remove squab and rinse off marinade under cold running water.  Dry.

Place back in the steamer.  Paint squab lightly with soy sauce.  Cover and steam 20 more minutes.

Refrigerate squab for several hours or overnight.

In a pan large enough to accommodate both squab, heat 2 inches of peanut oil to almost smoking (around 375 degrees).

Dredge squab in cornstarch.  Gently shake and brush off any excess.  Carefully (oil is hot!) lower squab into the pan.  Using a ladle, baste squab with hot oil, turning occasionally until the outside skin is brown.

Drain on several layers of paper towels.

Meanwhile, quickly deep fry gizzards, hearts and livers.

Serve with steamed cabbage and boiled, pureed turnips.

Garnish with chopped chives and lemon wedges.

Cellarwise Wine Pairing

Asian flavors are about simplicity.  Follw that rule with your wine choice.  Best bets are Oregon Pinot and NoirAussie/NZ Riesling. For Pinot, avoid wines that are over-extracted and high in alcohol (above 14%).  More restrained pure berry flavors ae what’s called for.  Oregon’s ’07’s are elegant and feminine.  These three show pure strawberry and raspberry fruit, as well as offering great value – ’07 Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec’07 ($30), ’07 Quercus Harmonia ($22), ’07 Et Fille Blakeslee Vyd ($28).  The Riesling should be bone-dry and steely with some exuberance to the fruit, like the lilac-and-petrol-tinged, green melon and lime notes in the ’06 Pegasus Bay Waipara (NZ, $17), the apple pie and citrus of the ’08 Craggy Range Fletcher Family Vyd (NZ, $18), or the mineral, lime and sage flavors of the affordable ’09 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley (Aussie, $14).  Enjoy.