Diners’ appetites are changing with the season, writes Neil Forbes of Cafe St Honoré, as he serves up this recipe for pigeon, beetroot and creamy celeriac

  • 200
  • 4
  • Easy
Pigeons are lovely and plump at this time of year from all the new green shoots they feast on, and are easy to get hold of. I have been cooking pigeon for 30 years but every time I cook it, it still challenges me. Sizes are different, timings vary. Pan fry, or put in oven for a moment? Roast on the crown? Aim to cook with your senses and the way you feel most comfortable. And always serve rather rare and sliced. The earthiness of the beetroot harmonises perfectly with the game, whilst the wild garlic cuts through the creamy richness of the celeriac.

Ingredients

  • 4 breasts wild wood pigeon
  • 4 whole beetroots, scrubbed
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and washed
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 4 slivers of garlic
  • a handful of wild garlic
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • good salt and pepper

Method

Pigeon, beetroot and creamy celeriac

1 Place the scrubbed beetroots in a pot, season with salt, cover with water, then bring to the boil and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. When they are cool, scrape away the skin and cut them in half. Next place a few sprigs of thyme on an ovenproof tray and lay the beetroot halves on top. Season them with salt and pepper and a wee squirt of rapeseed oil then bake for 25 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

2 Dice the celeriac to ½cm cubes, place in a pot and cover with the cream. Add a few sprigs of thyme, 2 slivers of garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until just soft.

3 While all this is happening, place a frying pan with the rapeseed oil on the hob and bring to a moderate heat. Season the pigeon and add to the pan. Add a few sprigs of thyme and 2 slivers of garlic and colour the pigeon for 2-3 minutes each side, no longer. It should still be nice and pink inside. Remove the pigeon from the pan and leave it to rest in a warm place.

4 Add the wild garlic to the same pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until it wilts down in the pigeon juices.

5 To serve, spoon the creamy celeriac into the centre of each plate, then slice the pigeon breasts lengthways and arrange on top. Arrange the beetroot around the plate and drape the wild garlic over the dish. Finish with a wee pinch of good salt and serve.

Neil Forbes/Pigeon

Neil Forbes/Pigeon

 

 

 

About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.

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About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.