Pigeon breasts are a delicious introduction to game. Here they’re served with wild mushrooms and a rich red wine gravy.
30 mins to 1 hour preparation time
10 to 30 mins cooking time
- For the marinade
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- Â½tsp picked thyme leaves
- 6 black peppercorns, crushed
- 4 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- 8 wood pigeon breasts
- For the gravy
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 200ml red wine
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 6 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- For the roasted leeks
- 12 baby leeks, trimmed
- 1 tbsp butter
- For the wild mushrooms
- handful wood ear mushrooms, sliced
- 15-20 wild brown closed-cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
- Combine the garlic, thyme, black peppercorns and rapeseed oil in a small bowl. Using a sharp knife, score the pigeon breasts’ skin lightly and rub in the marinade – leave for at least 20 minutes.
- To make the gravy, combine the sugar and a few drops of water in a smallish, very clean saucepan and place over a high heat to caramelise. Once the sugar melts and has gone a dark golden brown, pour in the red wine. Add the thyme and the juniper berries. Cook the sauce until it is reduced by two thirds – this will take about 12-15 minutes. Season to taste, strain and keep warm.
- Place the leeks in a saucepan of boiling, salted water and blanch for 10 seconds. With a pair of tongs, remove the leeks from the boiling water and plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water. When they have cooled, drain the leeks well.
- Place the leeks in an ovenproof saucepan or baking sheet with a knob of butter. Transfer to the hot oven and cook until tender – this should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Heat a griddle pan until hot. Season the pigeon breasts with salt and freshly ground pepper and place on the hot griddle pan. Cook for just a few minutes on each side until cooked to your liking, then remove from the heat and set aside in a warm place for at least five minutes.
- For the mushrooms, heat a small frying pan. When hot, add the rapeseed oil and fry the garlic until golden brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until softened. Be careful – the wood-ear mushrooms can pop and splutter quite ferociously.
- Serve the pigeon with the leeks, mushrooms, and a drizzle of the red wine gravy.