Breast of Wood Pigeon on a Pastry Case Filled with Wild Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 6 wood pigeon breasts
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 175 g (6 oz) wild mushrooms (chanterelles or cèpes), finely chopped, plus 18 whole cèpes, sautéed, for garnish
  • 225 g (8 oz) puff pastry beaten egg, to glaze
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

For the sauce

  • 150 ml (½ pt) pigeon stock
  • 1 tbls crème fraîche or double cream
  • sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper

Method

To make the sauce, pour the pigeon stock into a saucepan and add the crème fraîche and rosemary. Bring to simmering point, whisking occasionally. Pass through a sieve then reheat, whisking in the butter in small pieces. Reduce to the required consistency. Check the seasoning and reserve until needed.

To cook the pigeon breasts, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8. Remove the small fillet from each breast, chop finely and set aside. Sauté the breasts (with the skin on) in 25 g (1 oz) butter, then place in a roasting tin and finish cooking in the centre of the oven for about 5—6 minutes. Remove and allow to rest in a warm place.

To cook the mushrooms, place in a pan with the remaining butter (use the same pan as for the breasts) and stir until juices start to run. Add the chopped fillet and cook for a further minute. Set aside and keep warm.

Roll out the puff pastry about 3—5mm (½ inch) thick and cut out six large crescent shapes about 10 cm (4 inches) along the straight side and 7.5 cm (3 inches) wide. Brush with egg glaze, score and bake in the not oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cut the top off each and remove excess pastry dough in the centre. Keep warm until required.

To serve, place the pastries on plates and fill with the finely chopped mushroom and pigeon fillet. Slice the pigeon breast across then place the slices on top of the pastry. Surround with the sauce and place the lid against the pastry case. Serve immediately garnished with whole cèpes and parsley.