Warm salad of Alresford wood pigeon with caramelised walnuts and beetroot compote

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This pigeon recipe brings out the best in this most tender and juicy of birds. Matthew Tomkinson partners the pigeon with a fantastic salad of nuts, beetroot and pickled mushrooms. Learn more about how to roast a whole pigeon in our guide.

First published in 2015




Pigeon recipe

Candied walnuts recipe

Pickled mushrooms recipe

Beetroot compote recipe

To plate


  • Sugar thermometer


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Sweat the mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrot) in the butter for five minutes, add the honey and allow to caramelise before adding the wine and reducing by half
Meanwhile, season the pigeon legs and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown
Add the stock and the roasted legs to the sauce and simmer for an hour. Pass through a sieve and reserve
  • 500ml of dark chicken stock
For the beetroot compote, wrap the beetroots in foil so they are quite well-sealed and roast for 40 minutes until they are just tender. When cool, peel and coarsely grate
To make the candied walnuts, dissolve the sugar in the water and add the nuts. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook until it reaches 140°C. Drain quickly and then deep-fry the nuts in oil at 180°C until golden and crispy. Drain and allow to cool
In a small pan, sweat the onion in the butter then add the beetroot and the grated apple, followed by the capers. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the wine and jelly and cook until thick and glossy
For the pickled mushrooms, bring the water and vinegar to the boil. Add the sugar to taste and then add the mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Remove from the heat and chill
Turn the oven up to 240°C/gas mark 9 (or as high as it will go)
Brown the crowns in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil and place in the oven for six minutes. Allow to rest, then carve off the breasts
To serve, scatter the walnuts and mushrooms around the plate and place drops of beetroot compote in and around. Lay the breasts over the garnish and top with watercress leaves and a few spoons of the sauce
First published in 2015

Matthew Tomkinson’s elegant and highly accomplished food earned him a Roux Scholarship in 2005, as well as Michelin stars at The Goose and The Montagu Arms. He now cooks classically influenced comforting dishes at Betony at The Kings Head in Wiltshire.

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