Pigeon Breast on a Celeraic Rosti with a Blackberry Sauce

Pigeon breast is not as popular as it once was, which is a real shame. It has a delicate flavor, which is not gamey. Served on a rosti, this dish is a great delight.

Portions: 4 Portions

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 45 minutes (includes pigeon stock)

Ingredients

Pigeon Breast

  • 4 pigeons
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Zest and Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 2 tbsp. walnut oil
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper

Celeraic Rosti

  • 1*300g Celeraic, parboiled (still firm)
  • 1*300g Potato, parboiled with skin on (still firm)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  • 80g butter

Sauce

  • 1 carrot, diced roughly
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • Leek trimmings washed and roughly diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 3 button mushrooms
  • 150ml red wine
  • 125 g black berries

Red Chard

  • 150g red chard leaves, washed, trimmed and torn
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch grated nutmeg

Method

  1. Pigeon Breast: Remove the wish bone from the pigeon by scraping your knife around it and then twisting it out (this allows you to cut the breasts off without wastage. Starting with the right breast (unless left handed in which case you would start from the right) at the pointy end cut along the centre following the backbone. When you get to the end cut down and dislocate the wing and follow the breast around cutting it from the rib cage (at this stage you can also carefully pull the breast off). Repeat this process with the other breast. Cut the pigeon body in two and reserve for the sauce.
  2. To Marinate: In a container large enough to hold the breasts place the oil, garlic, thyme, juniper berries, orange zest and juice and mix together well. Add the pigeon to the marinade and season them. Leave the breast to marinate for up to a day or at least for 2 hours.
  3. Sauce: Place the reserved pigeon bones and vegetables in a hot large sauce pan with a little oil and cook them until they are slightly browned. Add the red wine, stock or water and herbs to the sauce pan and bring them to the boil then reduce to a steady simmer, skim off any of the scum that comes to the surface and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. After this time strain through a fine chinois (strainer) into a clean saucepan. Bring the stock to the boil and reduce to a steady simmer for around 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Add 2/3 of the black berries and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until you have a slightly sticky pouring consistency sauce. Add the remaining blackberries and keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Rosti: Place the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat, when hot add the onion and sweat the onions until they are soft. Peel the skin off the celeraic and potato and grate them coarsely. Place the celeraic, potato, chives, seasoning and onion with the melted butter, mix together well so that the potato and celeraic are coated in the butter and everything is well distributed. Make 8 rostis by shaping them in oiled egg rings or pastry cutters. In a large frying pan place a tablespoon of oil with a little butter and place over a moderately high heat, when the oil is hot carefully add the rostis a couple at a time. Remove the egg ring and flatten them out slightly, cook them for 2-3 minutes at a moderate heat on each side so that they are golden brown and crisp on the outside and cooked through. Remove them from the heat and repeat the process with the remaining rostis. Set them aside and keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. To Cook the Pigeon: In a frying pan large enough to hold all the breasts heat 1-2 tablespoons of the marinade over a moderately high heat. When hot place the pigeon breast in the pan breast side down for 2-3 minutes and turnover and cook for a further 2-3 minutes (dependent on size), the breast should be rare to medium rare. Remove the breast from the pan and cover with foil and leave them to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
  6. Red beet: Pour the oil into a wok or large saucepan over a high heat when hot add the beet and when wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  7. To Serve: Place 2 rostis on each plate and distribute the beet onto each plate beside the rostis. Place 2 pigeon breast on the edge of the rostis and drizzle the sauce around the plate.