Wild pigeon cured in birch sap wine

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This imaginative pigeon recipe from Chris Horridge uses a simple curing process to add an intense citrus flavour to the bird. This inspirational recipe, uses a remarkable method to cure the pigeon breasts that will make a stunning addition to a dinner party. You can buy the birch wine required in this recipe online and from specialty retailers.

First published in 2015






Citrus purée

  • 25g of lemon, zested
  • 25g of orange, zested
  • 18ml of water
  • 5g of sugar
  • 12ml of gold label extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1.5g of salt


For the citrus purée put the zest of the lemons and oranges in 1 litre of cold water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat this process 3 times until the zest is tender and most of the bitterness has gone.
Drain the zest well and blend with the sugar, salt, water, the juice of one lemon and olive oil
  • 5g of sugar
  • 1.5g of salt
  • 18ml of water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 12ml of gold label extra virgin olive oil
For the marinade put the salt and sugar in a pan with the birch wine and bring to the boil. Remove from stove and add the thyme, bay leaves, cloves, garlic, peppercorns, juniper berries and lemon and orange zest. Leave to cool
Take the skin off the pigeon breasts and place them in the marinade, cover and chill. Turn every 12 hours, leaving for a total of 48 hours. When the meat is sufficiently cured it should be fairly firm to the touch. If it still feels tender then continue to marinade for further 12 hours
Wipe off the excess marinade then wrap in cling film and freeze until solid
Unwrap and while still frozen slice as thinly as you can using a very sharp knife. As you slice, lay the meat on a sheet of greaseproof paper keeping the slices separate. This is important otherwise, on defrosting, which is almost instant, the meat will clump together and be almost impossible to separate
To plate, place the pea shoots in the centre of each rectangle of sliced pigeon then roll up into cylinders
Spoon a line of the citrus purée onto each plate. Place the rolled up pigeon next to the citrus purée. Surround with blackberries, hazelnuts and pistachios and serve
First published in 2015

Chris Horridge is a master of balancing unusual flavours to great effect, working at various Michelin-starred restaurants around the country and earning his own star for his kitchen garden-driven food. He is a passionate advocate of nutritious, ‘free from’ food, choosing and pairing ingredients based on their effect on the body as much as flavour.

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