Grilled Squab Breasts with Creamy Orzo

Gabriel Rucker cooks all kinds of game birds. Here, he pairs squab with a fresh tomato vinaigrette and orzo in a spiced yogurt-feta dressing.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
KEY: Dinner Party, Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, Make Ahead, Dinner

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  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 skin-on, boneless squab breast halves with the first wing joints intact (see Note)
  • Kosher salt
tomato vinaigrette
  • One 3/4-pound heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brine from a jar of green olives
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably French
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup halved pitted Castelvetrano olives, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes, for garnish
  • Very thinly sliced red onion, for garnish

How to make this recipe

  1. Marinate the Squab In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the squab and salt and puree until nearly smooth. Scrape the marinade into a large baking dish. Season the squab breasts with salt and add to the marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let the squab stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Meanwhile, Make the Tomato Vinaigrette In a medium bowl, grate the tomato on the large holes of a box grater; discard the skin. Whisk the grated tomato pulp with the remaining ingredients and season with salt.
  3. Prepare the Orzo In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente; drain well. Toss the orzo with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spread it out on a large plate to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the lemon juice, coriander, cumin, piment d’Espelette and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Fold in the orzo, cilantro, mint and feta and season with salt.
  4. Prepare the Orzo Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and brush the grate with oil. Remove the squab from the marinade, scraping off the excess; discard the marinade. Grill the squab breasts skin side down over moderate heat until lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the squab breasts and cook until medium within, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Prepare the Orzo Spoon the creamy orzo onto plates and arrange the squab on top. Scatter the olives, tomatoes and onion around the squab and drizzle some of the tomato vinaigrette around the plate. Serve, passing the remaining vinaigrette at the table.

Make Ahead

The tomato vinaigrette can be refrigerated overnight.


You will have to order the boneless squab breasts from your butcher.

Suggested Pairing

Toasty, berried Côtes du Rhône.

Contributed By Photo © Cedric Angeles Published October 2014

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507229 recipes/grilled-squab-breasts-with-creamy-orzo 2014-09-12 Gabriel Rucker dinner-party|mothers-day|new-years-eve|4|make-ahead|weeknight-dinner october-2014 recipes,grilled-squab-breasts-with-creamy-orzo 507229