Or to be restaurant fancy ‘Paleo Pan-Fried Breast of Pigeon on a bed of Creamy Mushrooms and Watercress’
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag…” – Bad taste…?
Game meat makes a great addition to any paleo menu and wood pigeon is no exception – lean and wild, I am confident in believing the bird has enjoyed a good life, free from being fed artificial growth hormones on a battery farm.
These last few years I have become so adventurous and brave when choosing my food and I’m pretty proud of where I’ve ended up – the 8 year old me who was scared of broccoli would be astonished. In the last year I have cooked with venison , pheasant, poussin, and tried rabbit on holiday in Malta. In a pub recently I really enjoyed a game & parsnip cottage pie – including venison, hare, rabbit and grouse. There should therefore be no reason why I couldn’t now tackle cooking and eating pigeon, so when I came face to face with a cleaned and de-boned neat little pack of pigeon breasts at the very reasonable price of 6 for £4 I decided to be brave and give them a whirl.
The pigeon was from a Mersham Game stall at my local weekly Saturday Brockley market. The pigeons caught my eye whilst I was picking up some of my favourite venison burgers and weekly supply of eggs. Whilst discussing the delights of the venison burgers with the stall-holders I starred long enough at the pigeon breasts and had my arm bended into buying them. They pan fry in minutes.. Sold.
I imagine most preconceptions of eating pigeon are due to the wonderful film of Mary Poppins and the skanky pigeons that rule the skies and pavements of urban London. We should just all get over this – pan fried pigeon is stunning. Pigeon a nasty irritating ‘rat of the sky’ tastes unbelievably like a meaty succulent steak. How, I don’t know, but believe me it does. I’ve been telling everyone this ever since I cooked this. I’m not sure everyone believes me, I’ve had quite a few laughs from friends and colleagues, but I dare you to step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.
The best part is that from start to finish this took less than half an hour to cook. Speedy in the sky and speedy from fridge to plate.
By the way these pigeons were not from Trafalgar Square – wild wood pigeons from Kent!
Ingredients (serves 2)
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, diced,
- 1 white onion finely diced
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 400g mushrooms, finely sliced (button or chestnut)
- 100mls full fat coconut milk
- 4 wood pigeon breasts
- Handful fresh parsley
- Watercress to garnish
- First make up the sauce. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, and sauté the garlic and onions on a low heat till softened. Add the rosemary, and the mushrooms, and cook till browned. This should take about 10 minutes on a low heat.
- Add the coconut milk to the pan, stir well and season. Keep the mushroom sauce on low and continue to stir frequently whilst you cook the pigeon.
- Season the pigeon and add a little oil to the meat (oil the meat not the pan always). Warm a pan up and when hot enough add the pigeon breasts, skin side down. Sear for 2 minutes then turn over. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pigeon from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing to serve up.
- When ready to serve pile the mushrooms into the middle of the plate and decorate the watercress around the edge. Slice the pigeon into diagonal slices, and place on top of the mushrooms sauce. The pigeon meat should be rare and pink inside.