To many people pigeons are just an urban pest, cluttering up town and city centres, leaving only their droppings behind. If only they knew how good their country cousin the woodpigeon tasted on a plate, especially when cooked with a little imagination. Often locally-sourced and a sustainable source of meat, woodpigeon is rich in minerals including iron and they don’t cost an arm or a leg from your butcher. Whether you shoot them yourselves or buy them locally, a breast is often more than enough for some appetites.
And the good news is, you don’t need to be a professional chef to cook wood pigeon. The woodpigeon’s wild-foraged diet of berries, seeds, nuts and crops gives it a deliciously complex woodland flavour by comparison to farm reared meat. Quickly sear the boned breasts on either side (1 minute each), then rest and you will have a succulent, tender meat to rival any prime cut of steak. Cook the seasoned legs for 2-3 hours at a low temperature, under a layer of duck fat, for a flavour-filled confit that melts off the bone (find a great recipe for making delicious pigeon or pheasant confit). Don’t forget to use the carcase for stock!
This wood-fired pigeon recipe serves four.
Ingredients for this wood-fired pigeon recipe
8 woodpigeon breasts
Cornish sea salt
Milled black pepper
Method for this wood-fired pigeon recipe
Season the woodpigeon and set aside.
Build a small fire in a suitable vessel with kindling, oak and woody rosemary stalks.
Once the flame has left red hot embers, cook the pigeon on skewers over the heat.
Serve with the watercress and a little lemon oil.
Find more inspiration in our recipes section.
Recipe and image courtesy of Game to Eat