Wood Pigeon Breasts with Pickled Walnuts, Lardon and Pan Juices
Woodpigeon is one type of wild bird that is not in short supply. They are the bane of farmers because they feast on newly sown seeds and there are an awful lot of them in our delightful wooded English countryside.. There is permission to shoot them the year round.
This recipe could not be simpler; it only takes a few minutes to cook and looks really stylish on the plate - very “cheffy” as Oliver would say. Of course, if you are a purist, you will harvest your own fresh walnuts the previous summer and over several weeks, prick them with a needle, brim them, sun dry them and eventually pickle. The lazy answer, however, is simply to buy a jar.
Ingredients For 4
1 Tablespoon Rapeseed Oil
120g Pork Lardons
8 Wood Pigeon Breasts, off the bone
Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
100ml Red Wine
2 Pickled Walnuts, cut into slices
A little Wild Garlic Pesto
Young Marjoram Leaves
Put the oil and butter together into a heavy based pan over a moderate heat. The oil prevents the butter from burning.
Fry the lardons until crispy, lift out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper, keep warm.
Season the wood pigeon breasts, fry them for 2-3 minutes on each side. Lift these out of the pan and keep warm.
Turn up the heat, stir the red wine into the pan, season again, boil rapidly for 1 minute.
Slice the breasts into two; arrange 4 pieces on each plate. Add the sliced walnuts and lardons, spoon the pan juices over, drizzle with wild garlic pesto and finish with marjoram.