Pigeon Breast with Red Wine Gravy, Roast Leeks and Wild Mushrooms

On Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

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

  • Serves 4

Ingredients

For the marinade
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½tsp 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

Preparation method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve the pigeon with the leeks, mushrooms, and a drizzle of the red wine gravy.
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