Roast wood pigeon with pithivier of leg, creamed curly kale and roast Jerusalem artichokes

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Andy McLeish's roast wood pigeon recipe wonderfully demonstrates the brilliance and versatility of this beautiful game bird. The legs are slowly braised in a sloe gin flavoured stock, flaked and incorporated with a host of other autumnal ingredients in a pithivier and served alongside the perfectly roasted breasts, girolle mushrooms and onion purée.

First published in 2015





Onion purée


Jerusalem artichokes



  • Muslin cloth
  • Blender


Remove the legs from the pigeon and set aside. Cut the body into crowns and remove the wishbones - keep the crowns to one side until ready to serve
Place a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-high heat and add a drop of oil. Once hot, colour the legs until golden brown all over
  • oil
Add the carrot, 1 of the chopped shallots and 2 of the crushed garlic cloves and brown for a further 2 minutes
Add the tomato purée, stir to coat and deglaze the pan with the sloe gin. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer very slowly over a low heat with a cartouche on top. Cook until the legs are soft and can be pulled away from the bone, for approximately 1-1 1/2 hours
Once the meat has cooked, strain off the liquid through a sheet of muslin into a clean pan, return to the heat and reduce to a sauce consistency. Season if necessary and reserve for later
Flake the leg meat away from the bone and set aside. Meanwhile, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, finely slice the paler inner leaves and blanch until tender. Refresh and squeeze out the excess water
Add a knob of butter to a pan and gently cook the chopped thyme, the remaining chopped shallot and crushed clove of garlic. Add the cream, reduce by half then add the leg meat and blanched cabbage. Season and set aside to cool
Once cooled, separate into 4 equal portions and roll into balls. Place 4 of the pastry discs onto a baking parchment-lined tray and place the balls in the centre of each. Egg wash the other disk and place on top of the ball
  • 8 puff pastry rounds, 9cm in diameter
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
Press the pastry around the ball until sealed, leaving a nice dome-like shape. Use a pastry cutter to cut around the pithivier to tidy it up, then egg wash and score neatly. Refrigerate until ready to cook
For the onion purée, heat a knob of butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the sliced onions. Cook gently at first, stirring occasionally - do not colour the onions at this stage
Continue to cook until the onions are completely soft, then increase the heat. Once the onions start to colour, stir every few mintues to stop from burning and add a little salt
Once the onions are brown and the excess liquid has evaporated, remove from the pan and blend until smooth. Pass the purée through a sieve, place in a squeezy bottle and set aside
For the kale, heat a knob of butter in a pan and sweat the garlic and shallot. Once soft, add the cream, reduce by half and add the blanched curly kale. Season to taste and set aside until needed - alternatively, this can be made in advance and reheated
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Heat some oil in an ovenproof frying pan and sear the pigeon crowns all over until golden. Place the crowns in the oven (breast-side up) along with the pithiviers on a separate tray for 8 minutes - the pigeon should be cooked through but still pink in the middle, and the pithiviers should be golden-brown. You may need to cook the pithiviers further to achieve a good colour. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place
  • oil
Meanwhile, sauté the Jerusalem artichokes in a knob of butter until soft, then season with salt, pepper and a little lemon
Finally, cook the girolle mushrooms. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a high heat and briefly sauté the mushrooms - do not overcook them, or the moisture from the mushrooms will be released and lost
Reheat the sauce in a pan over a low heat. Carefully carve the breast meat from the crowns and arrange neatly on the plate with the artichokes, girolle mushrooms, curly kale and pithivier. Pour a little sauce over the pigeon and serve immediately

Andy McLeish takes the field to fork ethos seriously, hunting and butchering his own game to ensure his menus at Chapter One offer the finest of local ingredients treated with respect.

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