In the Middle Ages it was customary to simmer game and meat together. I liken this blending of flavours, and the fat of the bacon prevents the pigeon from becoming dry. The great dovecotes of mediaeval castles were not for show: they were a meat source–a living refrigerator. Young birds were taken whenever needed for the kitchens, and pigeons were much eaten.
Place all the ingredients, except the spinach, in a large pan. Cover with cold water and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface, then cover and simmer gently for 1-1 ½ hours or until tender.
Wash the spinach well, then cook until wilted. Drain well.
Drain the bacon and pigeons. Place the bacon on a large serving dish. Surround with spinach and lay the pigeons on top. Serve hot. Parsley sauce and Cumberland sauce go well with this.
© 1996 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.