This roast wood pigeon recipe with rhubarb makes for a seriously impressive dinner party main course to wow your friends. Chef Robin Gill demonstrates how to make the most of the game bird in this delicate dish, paired with tart chargrilled rhubarb.
– 10g Maldon sea salt
– 50g caster sugar
– 2 stalks forced rhubarb, cut into strips
– 2 heads red chicory
– 50g soft unsalted butter
– 5g Maldon sea salt
– 20g caster sugar
– 500ml water
– juice of 1 lemon
Roast Wood Pigeon and Sauce
– a bunch of thyme
– 10 juniper berries, crushed
– 4 wood pigeons, plucked and trussed (ask your butcher to clean the carcass but to give you the livers and hearts separately for your sauce)
– a drizzle of vegetable oil
– a knob of butter
– 50ml brown chicken stock
– 200g muscat grapes or black seedless grapes (removed from the stem)
– 1 tsp sweet sherry vinegar
1. Mix together the salt, sugar and rhubarb in a mixing bowl. Leave to marinate for 1 hour, then drain off the excess liquid.
2. Char the rhubarb on a very hot ridged grill pan for 2 minutes, to scorch on all sides, until it is just tender. Remove and keep warm.
1. Cut the chicory in half lengthways. Put all the remaining ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. Whisk together, then place the chicory in the liquid.
2. Simmer on a low heat for 10– 15 minutes or until the chicory is tender on the stem. Allow to cool in the liquid. Warm through for serving.
Roast Wood Pigeon and Sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C fan/170°C/Gas Mark 3–4.
2. Stuff the thyme and juniper into the cavities of the birds.
3. Set a large pan over a high heat, add a little vegetable oil and colour the birds all over.
4. Transfer them to a roasting tray and roast for 12–15 minutes. Allow the birds to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, finely chop the hearts and livers. Add the butter to the pan you used to brown the birds, followed by the chopped hearts and livers, the stock and grapes. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar to taste and keep warm.
7. Remove the breasts and legs from the wood pigeon carcasses and keep warm in the roasting tray.
Arrange the drained chicory and rhubarb on each plate, followed by the pigeon breasts and legs, and the heart and liver sauce. Take the bloody carcasses to the table and hand-squeeze over the entire dish. It’s bound to cause a stir!
Robin Gill has revolutionised the way British food is cooked and enjoyed, with his philosophy of combining the best farm-to-table produce with those from a well-stocked larder. Charcuterie, fermenting, pickling, curing and smoking are just a few techniques included to create a healthy larder – which in turn will become your secret weapon in creating Robin’s inspiring and delicious dishes, including melt-in-your-mouth vension with pear and Jerusalem artichokes or Loch Duart salmon with oyster emulsion, fennel and wakame.
Each recipe is accompanied by stunning photography by Paul Winch-Furness.