Warm Salad of Wood Pigeon with Walnuts & Beetroot

by Matthew Tomkinson

Main Easy ​​​​​​​ 4 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 2 hours 20 minutes, plus chilling


4 pigeon crowns

8 pigeon legs

1 tbsp of honey

30g of butter

175ml of red wine, fruity

500ml of dark chicken stock

100g of mirepoix, chopped onion, celery and carrot

20 walnut halves

100g of sugar

100ml of water

100g of Hon Shimeji mushrooms

50g of caster sugar

42ml of white wine vinegar

42ml of water

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of thyme

2 large beetroots

1/2 onion, peeled and chopped

30g of butter

1 English apple, peeled, cored and grated

20g of capers

250ml of red wine

2 tbsp of redcurrant jelly

TO PLATE 1 handful of watercress


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Sweat the mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrot) in the butter for five minutes, add the honey and allow to caramelise before adding the wine and reducing by half

2. Meanwhile, season the pigeon legs and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown

3. Add the stock and the roasted legs to the sauce and simmer for an hour. Pass through a sieve and reserve

4. For the beetroot compote, wrap the beetroots in foil so they are quite well-sealed and roast for 40 minutes until they are just tender. When cool, peel and coarsely grate

5. To make the candied walnuts, dissolve the sugar in the water and add the nuts. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook until it reaches 140°C. Drain quickly and then deep-fry the nuts in oil at 180°C until golden and crispy. Drain and allow to cool

6. In a small pan, sweat the onion in the butter then add the beetroot and the grated apple, followed by the capers. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the wine and jelly and cook until thick and glossy

7. For the pickled mushrooms, bring the water and vinegar to the boil. Add the sugar to taste and then add the mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Remove from the heat and chill

8. Turn the oven up to 240°C/gas mark 9 (or as high as it will go)

9. Brown the crowns in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil and place in the oven for six minutes. Allow to rest, then carve off the breasts

10. To serve, scatter the walnuts and mushrooms around the plate and place drops of beetroot compote in and around. Lay the breasts over the garnish and top with watercress leaves and a few spoons of the sauce