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Roasted woodpigeon breast with pickled morel mushrooms and watercress emulsion

20 April 2010

Madalene Bonvini-Hamel of the British Larder website makes the most of seasonal ingredients such as woodpigeon, watercress and morel mushrooms in this recipe.

For more ideas, see our article, Flavours of April >>

INGREDIENTS (Serves four)

For the salt-baked Cheltenham beetroot

  • 4 elongated Cheltenham beetroots
  • 4tbs Fleur de Sel

For the spelt salad

  • 120g cooked spelt grains
  • 1tbs chopped chives
  • 1tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp sherry vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the pickled morel mushrooms

  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 2tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200g morel mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

For the watercress emulsion

  • 50g picked watercress leaves
  • 50ml rapeseed oil
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the roasted woodpigeon

  • 2 woodpigeons
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 10ml olive oil


Salt-baked Cheltenham beetroot

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Wash the beetroots, scrub the skin and remove the leaves, but leave a small piece of the leaf stalk attached to the beetroot. Cover the damp beetroot in the Fleur de Sel, lay them on a baking tray and place the tray in the preheated oven for one-and-a-half hours.

Let the beetroots cool and then dust off as much salt as possible. Cut them in half if they are small and quarters if they are larger. Brush the baked beetroots with oil and set aside until needed.

Spelt salad

Mix the cooked spelt grains with the herbs, oil and vinegar, season to taste and leave to develop flavours for 10 minutes.

Pickled morel mushrooms

Clean the morel mushrooms and cut them into rings. Heat 1tbs of oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and sauté the morel mushrooms with seasoning for two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat then add the thyme leaves, sherry vinegar and the rest of the oil. Let the oil heat through with the heat of the pan then set aside for 20 minutes.

Watercress emulsion

Place all the ingredients, apart from the oil for the watercress emulsion, in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the oil slowly while blending to form an emulsion.

Roasted pigeon

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan, season the pigeons and colour them golden brown for one minute on each breast, then transfer the pigeons to a roasting tray and place them in the preheated oven for four minutes.

Let the pigeons rest for six minutes, remove the breast from the carcase and serve.

To serve

Place three pieces of the salt-baked beetroots on the plate and spoon the spelt salad in the centre. Drain the morel mushrooms and place them on the plate, drizzle the watercress emulsion and place one pigeon breast on top of the spelt salad. Garnish the plate with fresh rosemary flowers and sprigs of fresh watercress.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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