Wood pigeon salad

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Dominic Chapman's pigeon salad recipe represents a lavish way to celebrate the meaty tasting pigeon. There are several processes involved in this restaurant quality dish but the end result produces a stunning salad fit for a king. Use more available ham if you can't find the variety Dominic advises.

First published in 2015
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Wood pigeon salad

Hazelnut vinaigrette

Red wine reduction


  • Fine chinoise


For the red wine reduction, place a large pan on a high heat. Add a small amount of vegetable oil and brown off the pigeon bones on all sides. Once evenly caramelised remove and transfer to a casserole dish
Place a small frying pan over a medium to high heat, add a little vegetable oil and a knob of butter. Caramelise the button mushrooms until dark and golden
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Cut the tomatoes in half and place flat side down on a tray with a little water. Place in the oven and roast until soft and caramelised. Once all the vegetables are caramelised, add to casserole dish with the pigeon and bacon
Brown off the bacon in the same pan, remove and place with the pigeon bones. Add a little more oil and the butter to the pan and caramelise the onions, carrots, leeks, celery and garlic
Deglaze the large pan with the port and Madeira and reduce by half. Add red wine and again reduce by half
For the vinaigrette, whisk the mustard and vinegar together and then gradually add the oil slowly to emulsify. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 50ml of Chardonnay vinegar
  • 250ml of hazelnut oil
Once the wine has reduced, add to pigeon, bacon and caramelised vegetables. Add the veal and chicken stocks, peppercorns, thyme and bay. Bring to a simmer and skim off any impurities that rise to the top
Simmer for 1 hour then pass the reduction through a fine strainer. Place back on the heat and reduce to a thin syrup like consistency. Season to taste and pass through fine sieve again
For the pigeon salad, slice the ham to setting one on your slicer, alternatively ask your local deli to do this for you
  • 2 slices of Cumbrian air dried ham
Lay the sliced ham on an oven tray and place under the grill on a medium to high heat until crisp. Leave the ham to cool, and then break into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container until required
To prepare the quail eggs, bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil. Lower the eggs into the boiling water for 2 minutes 15 seconds, then refresh in iced water. Peel and set aside for later use
Toast the pine nuts in the oven until golden brown. Place the sultanas in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, drain and place on absorbent towel to absorb any excess moisture
To prepare the salad, pick the light green parts of the frisée and wash in cold water, drain. Carefully pick pea shoots but do not wash. Remove outer leaves from radicchio leaving the crunchy crisp inner leaves or heart
Roughly cut through the radicchio leaves and place in a large bowl with the frisée and pea shoots. Add in the pine nuts, and sultanas and season with salt. Place to one side while preparing the wood pigeon
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Generously season the pigeons with salt and pepper and place into the oven for 8 minutes (pigeon should be served pink so do not be tempted to over-cook). Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes
Remove the breasts from the pigeons and slice evenly into strips
Distribute the pigeon evenly across the middle of 4 plates and scatter the pine nuts and sultanas around. Add the crème fraiche and redcurrant jelly to the plates
  • 40g of redcurrant jelly
  • 40g of crème fraîche
Lightly dress the salad and arrange on the wood pigeon. Stand the pieces of Cumbrian ham in the crème fraîche. Finish the dish with quail egg halves, chives, Fleur de sel, the red wine reduction and olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chives
  • 10ml of olive oil
  • fleur de sel
First published in 2015

Dominic Chapman's passion for food is in the blood: his family has owned and run the highly acclaimed Castle Hotel in Taunton for over 60 years.

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