Pigeon and beetroot are the stars of this earthy main. Preparing this dish exactly as Colin McGurran does in his restaurant will require some skill as well as some specialist equipment - you could always take this pigeon and beetroot recipe as inspiration and prepare one or two of the components rather than the complete dish. Colin recommends making a pigeon jus or gravy to use as a sauce

To make the onion oil for this recipe, simply place 100ml of rapeseed or vegetable oil in a pot with 1/4 of a chopped onion
Place on a medium heat for 5 minutes, remove and allow to infuse for 1-12 hours. Strain and set aside
Preheat the oven to 100°C set to steam
Alternative to steam oven
If you do not have a combination oven with steam setting, simply pour boiling water half way up a deep roasting tray and place into the bottom of the oven just before using
For the beetroot powder, vac pac the beetroot and cook in the steam oven for 30 minutes
Remove from the oven, slice thinly and dry in a dehydrator overnight until very crispy
Alternative to dehydrator
Always use a a rack to allow air to circulate around the chosen ingredient. To oven dry, set the oven to 65˚C with the door slightly ajar. Place the item on the rack and into the oven. Rotate the tray every hour until the desired effect is achieved. The moisture content of ingredients varies so the process may take from 2 hours up to 12 hours
Blitz for 3 minutes in a blender on a high speed and then store until ready to serve
Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4
For the smoked beetroot, wash the beetroot before sealing in a large vac pac bag. Place in the oven and cook for 90 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into 3mm slices. Using a 4cm pastry cutter, cut the discs down further into a uniform size
Use a smoker with the chips to smoke the beetroot for 2 hours and set aside. The beetroot will need to be smoked again 30 minutes before serving
Alternative to smoking
Hickory and Mesquite liquid smoke can be bought online or in speciality stores. It is a very concentrated natural smoke flavour extracted through a condenser. Use sparingly and to taste
For the purée, wash and peel the beetroot before chopping into small cubes. Place in a vacuum bag with sugar and salt, seal and cook in the oven at 100°C for 80 minutes
Remove from the bag and blitz in a blender before passing through a chinoise. Store in a vacuum pac bag and keep warm until needed, or simply re-heat in a pan before serving
For the relish, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the shallots. Fry until golden brown
Add the grated beetroot, vinegar, salt and pepper to the pan. Allow to cool a little then seal in a vac pac bag until ready to use
Prepare the pigeon by first removing the skin, then the breasts
Place each breast into its own vac pac bag with 5ml of onion oil, some thyme, salt and pepper in each. Seal and cook in water bath for 15 minutes at 58°C
Remove the breasts from the bag and keep warm until needed
To make the pickled beetroot leaves, first wash and prep the leaves- if you are using large leaves cut out discs, or just use baby leaves
Whilst preparing the other elements for plating, place the beetroot leaves into the sherry vinegar to lightly pickle
To serve, peel the pear and cut it into quarters. Using a small sieve, cover the pear with beetroot powder and slice just before serving
Place a spoonful of the warm beetroot puree on the plate and use a pastry comb to create a streaky effect across the base of the plate
Place the warm sliced pigeon breast at either end of the streak and place the pear in the middle. Follow with the discs of smoked beetroot, a few extra dollops of puree and the pickled beetroot leaves
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Beetroot purée

Smoked beetroot

Beetroot powder

Beetroot relish

  • 600g of cooked beetroot, grated
  • 100g of shallots, finely chopped
  • 40ml of sherry vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 50ml of oil

Pickled beetroot leaves


  • 1 pear, fresh and ripe


  1. Pastry cutter
  2. Fine chinoise
  3. Pastry comb
  4. Sous vide equipment
  5. Blender

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