Nigel Slater’s pigeon recipes

Pesky pigeons make delicious dinners – and great broth, too

The woodland pigeon is a scoundrel and a thief. We might as well eat it. Scourge of allotment holders, farmers and gardeners, the wretched birds can spot a cabbage seedling at 200ft. They had my crocuses last spring. Except that is more likely to be its distant and distinctly undelicious London cousin. I first came across Serve-You-Right Pie in Margaret Costa’s Four Seasons Cookery Book. Made with beef, bacon and the breast and leg meat of the pigeon, it has long been on my wish list. “Tiny bones are maddening in a pie,” says Mrs C quite rightly. Mixing so many animals under the same crust is not my bag so I would use the bird alone, its meat made to go further with leeks and mushrooms.

The breasts are lean and therefore dry. The skin rarely crisps, especially if you have marinated the meat with olive oil, bay leaves and garlic. The answer to both conundrums is to cook the breasts briefly and off the bone, either on the bars of a griddle or in a shallow-sided pan with butter. I include crushed juniper berries for their aroma of gin-and-tonic, though I actually think they smell more like the original Eau Sauvage.

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Source : Nigel Slater’s pigeon recipes