I ate this dish in a roadside 'venta' – a typical Spanish café often in someone's private house or garden – on the hot dusty road to Seville. Travelling with my late friend John Belmont was always exciting as he had an amazing nose for good food. He also spoke excellent Spanish and persuaded the lady of the house to part with this wonderful recipe.
2 pigeon breasts
1 pheasant – jointed
1 rabbit - jointed
5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 long pointed sweet red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp paprika
small pinch of saffron
1 can chopped tomatoes
generous grating of nutmeg
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
350 g / 12 oz Carnaroli rice (Arborio is also great but any long grain rice will do)
Cut the jointed meat into pieces. Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the onion, red pepper and garlic.
Add all the meat, turning till brown.
Soak the saffron in a little hot water and add to the pot with the paprika, cloves and nutmeg.
Stir for 2 minutes, add tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Cover the meat with boiling water, add the bay leaves, black pepper, cover and simmer gently for 50 minutes.
Now add the rice, turn up the heat and stir till the whole pot comes to the boil, then simmer till the rice is cooked – 15-20 minutes.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes, or better still overnight and reheat next day.
Eat with crusty bread, a bowl of salad and a large soup spoon.
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