Breast of Pigeon Wrapped in Cabbage on a Warm Potato Salad

Try to find squab pigeons to make this dish. These are specially reared young pigeons, and are very tender and plump. By doubling the quantities this could also be served as a main course. As a variation, a pigeon red wine sauce can be made by adding the pigeon carcasses to the reduction of the Red Wine Sauce and then continuing with the recipe. The legs and carcass will infuse the sauce, giving it a rich, gamey flavour.

Ingredients

  • 2 squab pigeons
  • 225 g (8 oz) mushrooms, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 chicken livers, chopped
  • 4 chicken hearts (optional), chopped
  • 50 g (2 oz) wild mushrooms (optional), chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 large green cabbage leaves
  • 100 g (4 oz) pig’s caul, soaked in cold water for 24 hours (optional)
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter

For the Warm Potato Salad

  • 450 g (1 lb) new potatoes, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) Red Wine Vinaigrette
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon snipped fresh chives

Method

Remove the legs and breasts from the carcasses. Skin the breasts but keep them whole. Cut up all the meat on the legs.

Place the minced or chopped mushrooms in a pan and cook over a low heat until almost dry. Allow to cool. Mix in the chopped leg meat, and the chopped chicken livers, hearts and wild mushrooms, if using. Season with salt and pepper and bind with the egg yolk.

Blanch the cabbage leaves quickly in boiling salted water then refresh in cold water and dry on a cloth. Lay them flat and sit the pigeon breasts on top of each one. Spread about 5 mm (¼ in) of the minced filling on top of each breast and fold over the cabbage until you have a small cabbage parcel. Cut the pig’s caul into four and wrap a piece around each cabbage parcel. The parcels are now ready.

Heat the butter in a frying-pan and cook the pigeon parcels for about 5–6 minutes on each side until golden brown.

While the cooked potatoes for the salad are still warm, peel and slice them and mix with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Keep them warm. Mix the red wine vinaigrette with the chopped herbs. Divide the potatoes between four plates and spoon the dressing over each portion. Make two or three cuts through the breasts, arrange them on top of the potatoes and serve.

“ I don’t stop at British dishes. A lot of my favourites are Italian and French, and most of them are just too good to ignore.”

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