Pigeon Breast with Prunes, Oranges and Sweet Potato Puree

Recipe courtesy of Hello Magazine.

An innovative starter.  Prunes and sweet potatoes balance the richness of the pigeon and the dressing has a secret ingredient – chocolate !

Serves : 4

PigeonIngredients :
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, trimmed and chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 handful of coriander leaves, chopped
4 pigeon breasts, previously marinated for several hours in red wine, chopped shallots and crushed garlic
250ml / 9 fl oz hazelnut oil
50g / 2 oz chocolate buttons
12 pitted prunes
Dash of balsamic vinegar
12 orange segments

Method :

Bullet logo Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6.  Put the sweet potatoes in a roasting tin with the spring onion, cayenne, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until tender.  Mash and stir in the chopped coriander.

Bullet logo Season the pigeon breasts and sear in a hot pan with a dash of oil.  Lower the heat and continue to cook until done to your liking or transfer to the oven to finish cooking.

Bullet logo Put the hazelnut oil, 50ml (2 fl oz) olive oil and the chocolate buttons in a pan and slowly warm until the chocolate melts and starts to infuse with the oil.

Bullet logo Warm the prunes in a pan with a dash of balsamic vinegar and season lightly.

Bullet logo To serve, place the prunes in the centre of the serving plates and top with the sweet potato puree.  Slice the pigeon breasts and place over the sweet potato with the orange segments.   Drizzle the chocolate oil around and serve.

Venison Stew with Horseradish Dumplings

Serves:  6

Ingredients:  The Stew:  1 kg / 2lb 4oz cubed venison; 2 onions, chopped; 2 tbsp flour; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 large carrot, cut across into 1cm / 1/2 in sections; 1 stick celery, chopped; 1 tbsp sugar; 2 bay leaves; 3 sprigs thyme; salt and pepper; 600ml / 1 pt red wine; 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 2 tbsp corn flour

The Dumplings:  100g / 3 1/2oz fresh white breadcrumbs; 100g / 3 1/2oz plain flour; 100g / 3 1/2oz suet; 2 level tsp baking powder; salt and pepper; 2 eggs beaten; ready-made horseradish sauce

  • Place all the stew ingredients except cornflour in a large, lidded ovenproof casserole, and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 170oC/325oF/Gas Mark 3 and cook the casserole just as it is for 1 hour, by which time it should be bubbling.  Turn down the heat to 150oC/300oF/gas mark 2 and continue to cook for about 3 hours or until the meat is really tender.
  • Just before serving make the dumplings.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and season well, then bind with the egg to make a firm dough.  Divide into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.  Poke a small hole in the side of each ball, fill with horseradish sauce and close the hole, sealing well.
  • Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp water until smooth, then stir into the stew, sit the dumplings on top, and return the casserole, covered, to the oven for another 20 min or until the dumplings are well risen and cooked through.

Serve on its own or with creamy mashed potatoes.