Gill Meller’s pan-roast pigeon with sorrel and bacon
- April 2018
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 40 min, plus at least 12 hours chilling
“Sorrel, the slender herbaceous perennial plant much loved for its appley, sour flavour, makes a beautiful sauce to serve alongside pigeon, cutting the rich dark meat with its clean, sharp quality.” – Gill Meller.
- 43.3g (18.4g saturated)
- 0.9g (0.8g sugars)
- 8 wood pigeon breasts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 rashers streaky bacon
- Knob of butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 100ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 150g sorrel, stalks removed
- 150ml double cream
For the brine
- 4 tsp salt
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, bashed
- Small handful fresh thyme sprigs
- 500ml apple juice
- Put all the ingredients for the brine in a pan set over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
- Put the pigeon breasts in a glass/ceramic bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Cover and chill for 12 hours or overnight.
- Remove the pigeon from the brine (discard the brine) and pat dry with kitchen paper. Put on a plate, cover with cling film and chill until needed.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the bacon until golden and starting to crisp. Turn up the heat and add the pigeon breasts. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (it needs to be pink in the middle), then transfer the pigeon and bacon to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Lower the heat and add the butter. When it foams, add the shallot and cook, stirring regularly, until softened. Pour in the stock, bring up to a simmer and bubble until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Cut the sorrel leaves into rough ribbons and add to the shallot. Give the sorrel a stir to ensure the leaves are nicely wilted. Add the cream, stir, then bring the sauce up to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season, then remove the pan from the heat.
- Divide the bacon among 4 warmed plates. Slice the pigeon thickly and arrange next to the bacon on the plates. Spoon the sorrel sauce onto the plates and serve.
Buy wood pigeon breasts from butchers, larger supermarkets or online from wildmeat.co.uk.
If you can’t get hold of sorrel, use the same quantity of young leaf spinach and wilt it with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Once removed from the brine, the pigeon will keep covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
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