Perfect pigeon - Cooking tips and recipes

by Annabel Warne March 15 2016

The most plentiful edible wild bird, wood pigeon is available throughout the year. Its meat is versatile with a lovely wild, gamey flavour.

Pan-fired wood pigeon breastsWood pigeon is the perfect meat for anyone who wants sustainable and local food. It's a pest to farmers because they feast on young crops and and can do a lot of damage and are regularly culled.  

Luckily you don't need to be a chef to cook wood pigeon. Rapidly seared (a minute each side) and then rested, soft, succulent boned breast has the fine grain of a prime steak, but thanks to the diversity of its wild diet (seeds, acorns, buds, berries, green crops) it has a more complex earthy, woodland taste.

Plucking pigeon can be a messy business but we sell them prepared so all you have to do is cook them.

Ideal flavours for wood pigeon
Fruits: blackberries, quince,
Herbs: thyme, rosemary,
Spices: cloves, chilli, ginger, cardamon, juniper
Vegetables: cabbage, celeriac, mushrooms

Cooking Tips
Season the birds with a little fat or butter and sear in an ovenproof pan first on their backs, sides and briefly on their breasts until golden brown, before turning over onto their backs and roasting in a pre-heated oven.
Roast at a high heat for a short period.
Slow cook or casserole older birds.
Don’t overcook – these birds have very little fat and you need to keep them moist
Cover and allow to stand before serving.

How to cook wood pigeon
Roast: 220°C / Fan 200°C / Gas 7 for 12 minutes
Pan fry fillet/breast: 2-3 minutes on each side

Here are some of our favourite wood pigeon recipes.

Wood Fired Wood Pigeon
Nigel Slater's Grilled Pigeon & Peas
Angela Hartnett's Wood Pigeon Salad
Delia Smith's Braised Wood Pigeon with Cider Apple Sauce
Oliver Rowe's Pigeon Breast with Red Wine Gravy