Recipe of the week: Wood pigeon with lardo, pomegranate molasses and salted walnuts

21 April 2019 by
Recipe of the week: Wood pigeon with lardo, pomegranate molasses and salted walnuts

We have a bounty of year-round wood pigeon in the UK and it is to our shame that we don't eat nearly as much of this delicious, healthy meat as we should.

While good restaurants have featured it for many years, it is rare to find it used to any great degree in our homes, perhaps partly due to the bird's reputation as a pest and also the unfamiliarity around cooking it.

Unlike its urban cousin, the countryside wild pigeon has a clean, varied diet of grains, peas, seeds and herbs, which means the meat has great depth of flavour. The pigeon's varied diet and busy flight style means its meat retains a naturally sweet-sour flavour.

As a lean meat it needs the addition of some fat to help keep things nice and moist. The sweet-sour marinade accentuates the natural flavour of the bird while at the same time tenderising the meat, creating a delicious glaze.

Serves 4 as a tapas meal or 2 as a starter

100ml pomegranate molasses

50ml red wine vinegar (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)

A small handful of rosemary leaves, finely chopped

50g walnuts

Olive oil

8 thin strips of lardo (or fatty pancetta)

Seeds from ½ pomegranate

Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Lay the pigeons out skin-side up on a tray. Season well and pour over the molasses and vinegar. Rub all over into the meat. Sprinkle with the rosemary, then leave the birds to marinate for an hour or so.

Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a small baking tray and drizzle over some olive oil. Toast in the oven for seven minutes or until fragrant and the oils have started to leach from the nuts.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with plenty of sea salt. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. When the oil is hot, fry the pigeons, one or two at a time, for two minutes on each side. Transfer to a roasting tin, placing the birds skin-side up. Lay the lardo strips across the pigeon breasts. Add any marinade remaining in the tray. Roast for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving, sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds and the salted walnuts.

Taken from Moorish by Ben Tish >>

Continue reading

You need to create an account to read this article. It's free and only requires a few basic details.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

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

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking