Herbed pigeon breasts with caramelised onion and apple mash

Preparation Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 45 minutes | Serves: 2

This game dish is perfect all year round.

Pigeon is available at the Blacker Hall Butchery throughout the year. It has a strong, almost metallic, gamey flavour with a fine texture, similar to liver. If you’re new to game cooking, this dish is perfect to get you started and build your confidence!

Ingredients

  • 4 Pigeon Breasts (or 2 pigeon crowns, ask the butcher to remove the breasts for you).
  • 1 Bramley Apple, peeled cut into small flat slices
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Demerara Sugar
  • 2 Baking Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 good sprigs of fresh Rosemary, very finely chopped
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Mixed or Pink Peppercorns, ground (to add sweetness)
  • 1 knob of Longley Farm Butter
  • Large glass of good Port
  • Splash of good olive oil

METHOD

Remove the pigeon breasts from the fridge to allow them to reach room temperature. Place them on a dish covered with foil or cling-film. Check for shot, it will be indicated by a hole and you will feel it in the flesh and can easily be removed with tweezers.

Melt the knob of butter in a small ramekin and add the finely chopped rosemary and garlic with a generous helping of ground mixed or pink peppercorns.

Prepare the potatoes by peeling them and chopping into cubes - place in a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft, seasoning with salt if desired (I tend to avoid adding salt if I'm using salted butter).

Meanwhile, chop the onions as finely as you can manage and place in a pan with a little butter. Sautee until transparent and add the sugar (I sometimes add a dash of Balsamic vinegar for flavour). Once the sugar has turned to liquid add the apple pieces and simmer gently until the apple is softened. Be careful not to get the sugar too hot or it will become very sticky once it cools.

Drain the potatoes and add the apple and onions, mash to your desired consistency adding a little butter or milk to your preference. Replace the lid of the pan and set on one side in a warm place until ready to serve.

Prepare your pigeon for cooking by seasoning with black pepper and a little sea salt all over, remember to turn them over! Heat a frying pan to medium/hot and add a splash of olive oil (this will help to stop the butter from burning). Place the pigeon breasts presentation side down (the smoothest side) and pour over the seasoned melted butter. Keep spooning this over the pigeon as it cooks, the meat should be nicely caramelised but not burnt.  Allow about 2 - 3 minutes per side (or as you would for a steak of a similar thickness). Pigeon is ideally served slightly pink (medium - well done). If unsure, pierce the skin and check the colour of the juices - pale pink is just right (clear when well done). Allow to rest, fully covered, in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.

At this point, deglaze the pan with the glass of Port and reduce by almost half. Thicken with cornflour if needed, adding any juices from the rested meat.

Finally serve the pigeon (smooth side up) on top of the mash drizzled with the Port reduction and steamed seasonal greens on the side.

Enjoy! Cheryl x

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At Blacker Hall Farm Shop we offer you award-winning seasonal produce from our own farm, and other local farms.

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