The first of the game dishes made with the produce from my trip to Bury Market. I’ve not had woodpigeon before, and wasn’t too sure if it would be too gamey. I have tried to cook it before but it was so tough it was inedible. My mate John came over for tea and I thought I’d try and do (#33) Stewed Pigeons in Foil. It seemed easy; all was required was time. One pigeon is required per person. Brown the pigeon in butter, breast only, using a hot pan. Allow them to cool. Meanwhile cut pieces of foil large enough to encase the pigeons individually, and spread softened butter over the centre of each piece. Place the birds in the centre and make a parcel with one end still open so you can add the flavourings. Into the cavity add a large knob of butter, thyme, pepper, a slug of brandy, finely chopped onions, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and one of beef stock. Make sure all is sealed well, place on a baking tray and cook for three hours in a low oven. The breasts were removed and seasoned well. It was served with mashed potato and celeriac and the juices from the pigeons (Grigson’s orders). I added some purple sprouting broccoli for something green.
This is definitely the most cheffy looking dish I’ve made so far. It certainly looked the part. The wood pigeon was very tender and moist – it came away from the bone easily. The flavour is very much like liver, in that it’s quite metallic, and it’s got a slightly grainy texture. The mash was divine – used the ricer that I bought for the first time, and will never go back to mashing! – the celeriac and parsley gave in a herby, perfumed taste. Absolutely brilliant! What’s more, eating game is totally sustainable food – even if we all went vegetarian tomorrow, we’d still have to shoot them as part of woodland management (same goes for deer, pheasant, etc…)
FYI: according to the BBC, the wood pigeon is the most common bird in the UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4646685.stm
#33 Stewed Pigeons in Foil. 9.5/10 – I cannot believe how nice this dish was. Can’t wait to do more game recipes!