Spiced pigeon breast with roast butternut salad
- October 2005
- 8 pigeon breasts
- 3 tbsp thick, natural yogurt (Greek-style is best)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cumin seeds
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp hot paprika (smoked, if possible)
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 600g)
- 2 red onions
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seed oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
- Handful of wild rocket leaves
- 2 tbsp butter
- Put the pigeon breasts, yogurt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ginger, cumin, salt and paprika in a shallow ceramic dish and marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Leaving the skin on, discard the seeds and cut the squash into rings or half-moon slices. Toss in the remaining olive oil and add a little salt. Lay the slices, spaced apart, on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy at the edges. (If you bake them this way the skin is very edible, like a jacket potato – promise!)
- Meanwhile, slice the red onions and toss in a bowl with the lemon juice and the pumpkin seed or olive oil. Season lightly. Gently mix the onion with the squash and rocket leaves to make a warm salad.
- Heat the butter in a wide-bottomed frying pan and sear the pigeon breasts for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest for a good 5 minutes. Cut each pigeon breast into 3 and serve with the butternut salad and extra pumpkin seed oil, if you like.
Pumpkin seed oil is increasingly available in health food shops and delis. Dark and peppery, it has the same health-enhancing properties as olive oil.
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