Spatchcock pigeon on bruschetta with cavolo nero, pancetta and cep mushrooms

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Cavolo nero is an Italian cabbage whose leaves have a strong irony flavour, beautifully matched in this dish by the earthy mushroom and rich pigeon. If you are unable to source this, however, a hearty kale will suffice. Theo Randall's spatchcock pigeon recipe has strong Italian undertones and is all the better for it.

First published in 2015




Spatchcock pigeons

Cep mushrooms

Cavolo nero


To spatchcock the pigeon, cut down either side of the back bones on each bird and remove the bones
Turn over, place on a chopping board and push down onto breasts with the palm of your hand to flatten. The flatter it is, the more evenly the bird will cook
Marinate the pigeons in most of the Marsala wine with the garlic and the thyme. Leave for 1 hour
To make the cep mushrooms (often known as porcini mushrooms), clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice into 1/2cm pieces. Fry the garlic in some olive oil, add the ceps and cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside until needed
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and add the pigeons. Seal the meat on both sides for 1 minute
Make sure that the pigeon is facing skin side-down in the pan, and add the bread and pancetta around the meat. Place in the oven for 6 minutes, then remove from the oven and turn the pigeon over, pushing the bread underneath the meat so it soaks up the juices as it cooks. Return to the oven for a further 3 minutes
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 6 slices of pancetta
To make the cavolo nero, pull the leaves away from the stem and wash well. Blanch in salted boiling water, then drain well squeezing out any excess water. Gently heat a pan, and then soften the garlic in the olive oil
Roughly chop the cavolo nero, add to the garlic, and cook gently for 5 minutes
Place the bruschetta on the bottom of the plate, and add cooked cavolo nero. Slice each pigeon in half and place on top, then add the cep mushrooms
Add a dash of Marsala to the cooking juices of the pigeon and stir well. Drizzle the juices over the bruschetta and serve
  • 5ml of Marsala wine
First published in 2015

With Theo Randall’s career including experience in some of London’s most prestigious locations as well as Chez Panisse in California, it’s vital to note that – prior to opening up his own first solo venture – he secured his reputation as head chef at The River Cafe.

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