The best pigeons I have ever tasted were cooked simply in
The plump breasts of the pigeon are more or less the only part you can eat. You can put the carcasses in a large saucepan of water with root vegetables and boil up a delicious game stock to use for a risotto or soup later.
This pie is practical for a dinner party as it can either be kept warm in a low oven or made ahead and reheated. Serve simply with a salad and new potatoes and a bowl of whole-milk yoghurt as a sauce.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the breasts off the pigeons and remove the skin. Cut the flesh into thin slices. Peel the garlic and ginger and chop finely. Peel the onions and chop them fairly small. Chop the apricots roughly.
Heat the oil and
When the pigeon is done, remove from the heat and stir in the marmalade and spinach. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt and leave until cold.
Brush the pastry in the tin lightly with butter. Now lay another sheet of pastry across the other way so the tin is completely lined. Continue like this in layers, buttering each sheet and letting the pastry hang out all round the edges of the tin. Spoon in the cold pigeon mixture, then bring the overlapping pastry loosely over the top, sheet by sheet, buttering each piece. The top 2 or 3 layers should be crumpled, sticking up towards the centre.
Cook the pie in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes, until browned. Then put the tin on a narrower round object and push the pie carefully up and out. Using a wide spatula, lever it carefully off the tin base on to an ovenproof serving plate and put it back in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.