Pan Seared Wood Pigeon with Wholegrain Mustard and a Balsamic Red Wine Reduction

2013-08-13 19.10.12

On Monday night I was given a rather sizable bag of Wood Pigeon Breasts.  I’ve only ever eaten them once, and since then I have searched high and low for them so could have a go at cooking them for myself.  On Monday I finally got my hands on them!

I like game it’s always a nice change from the sometimes mundane chicken, lamb, pork and beef rotation and best of all it costs next to nothing (well it does if you know the right people!)  Pigeon itself has a rich gamey flavour, although for me it had to be dialled back a notch or two with sumptuous slightly sweet sauce.

The sauce was one I had used a couple of years back with a Beef and Celeriac Mash dish and I thought with a little tweeking it would be perfect for the dainty pigeon breast that lay before me.  So that was that I set to it. If you fancy go you’ll need

  • 9 Pigeon Breasts
  • Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 300ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of dried rosemary
  • 1 ½ tbsp red currant jelly

Once I’d done the boring stuff like peeling potatoes and sticking them on to boil it was time for the sauce.  This sauce is simple it takes about as long to make as it does the rest of the dish and you can just leave it  alone for a lot of the time!

In saucepan add your wine and simmer until it has reduced by half (if you’re a bit impatient like me stick it on a high heat for a little while to get it started) once its reduced add the rosemary, beef stock and balsamic then once again reduce until it’s about a third of the amount you had before.  Then you can just leave it on a seriously low heat until you’re just about to serve.

For the pigeon I used a grilled pan, I learned that you should always oil the meat or fish that you are using on the griddle pan and not the other way around.  So in a large bowl I put the pigeon some salt and pepper and a decent glug of oil and gave it a quick mix to make sure that all of the pieces were nicely coated and ready to be cooked.

When my pan was smoking hot (literally) I added the pigeon and cooked them for around 3 minutes on either side to make sure that they remained pink and tender inside.  Once they were done I rested them for about 5 minutes in a warm place, while the pigeon was resting I added the red currant jelly to the sauce and stirred it until had melted.  I then drained the potatoes and mashed them with the mustard and a little knob of butter.

All that was left to do then was plate up, I’ve recently bought myself a burger maker, but its also fairly good at making potato cakes so I made little rounds for the pigeon to sit on and then drizzled liberally with the sauce.


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