cover image Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird

Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird

Gabriel Rucker and Meredith Erickson with Lauren & Andrew Fortgang. Ten Speed, $40 (336p) ISBN 978-1-60774-444-3

Here’s one for the flesh lovers. The first cookbook from Rucker, a James Beard Award winner and chef at Le Pigeon and Little Bird in Portland, Ore., has a lot of meat in it. But that won’t surprise anyone acquainted with the restaurant that inspired this volume. Though it opens with a chapter entitled “Lettuce and Such,” entries in this section include dirty potato salad (made with chicken livers), and mortadella, mustard greens, Swiss. Then there’s an entire chapter dedicated to tongue, another to foie gras, another to “Horns and Antlers”, and so on. And there are, of course, several recipes for the titular pigeon, including a simple roasted pigeon, accompanied by a cartoonish diagram of how to truss a pigeon. But while there are definitely recipes that skew decadent (such as chicken-fried quail, eggos, foie gras maple syrup, and toasted foie gras and jelly), even some of the meatiest have balance: Pig’s Foot, Watermelon, Fet, for example, and Pheasant, Shiitake, Umami, Mizuna. Irreverent prose also helps to keep things light. The dessert chapter (Choco, Tart, Profit) provides the perfect playful ending—and yes, it features meat, too, in the form of honey bacon apricot cornbread, maple ice cream and foie gras profiteroles. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)