Pigeon Breast with Honey and Ginger


The late Archie Coates was probably the world’s most famous pigeon shot, and his wife Prue, author of several excellent game cookbooks, may well have cooked more pigeons than anyone else. I am indebted to her for this delicious recipe. It is equally good hot or cold. The quantities given for the sauce will make more than needed, so you can have great fun finding other uses for it.


  • 8 pigeon breasts
  • 55 g/2 oz butter
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the sauce

  • 85 g/3 oz sugar
  • 150 ml/¼ pint water
  • 115 g/4 oz stem ginger
  • 2 tbsp runny honey


For the sauce, dissolve the sugar in the water and boil for 4 minutes without stirring. In a blender pulverise the ginger, add the honey and process, gradually pouring in the sugar syrup. Blend till smooth. This can be done in advance and kept in the fridge.

Heat the butter in a frying pan till foaming and cook the pigeon breasts for 3 minutes each side. Add 4 tbsp of the ginger sauce and cook for a minute more. Remove the pigeon breasts, slice them lengthways and fan out on warmed plates. Add the lemon juice to the pan and cook until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Season to taste. Pour the sauce over the pigeon breasts and serve hot. If serving cold, add thinly sliced fennel dressed with oil and lemon juice.