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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Foragers Diary; Martins Pigeon Casserole

No one will be upset when you turn the blue grey scourge of crops, the common Wood Pigeon, into something edible! It is in my mind, one of my very favourite home shot meats. The wood Pigeon in the countryside (not in the city) is a source of great dark meat, it has typically fed on crops that when fully mature and harvested are going to end up on your plate, so the Pigeon just managed to get to it a little ahead of you in the food chain. Pigeon and Collared doves should be treated in exactly the same way but being a lot smaller, you will need twice as many to make a good feed. In my opinion, 2 plump pigeons are required for a proper portion of casserole and I will give you a step by step description of how to prep the Pigeon or dove, with supporting pictures.

Lay a fresh Pigeon or dove on its back with wings open.
  Place your thumbs either side of the breast bone and push down firmly. If the skin doesn’t split of its own accord, just help it with a sharp knife but remember at this stage its just to split the skin.

With the skin split, keep pushing and peal back the skin to the ‘arm pits’.

   Take a sharp knife and follow the breast bone all the way down and peel off the breast steak.

  Turn the bird around and do the same the other side, so you now have 2 steaks that are just smaller than your palm.

 With all the steaks now ready,   2 Pigeons worth of breast steaks per person is what I recommend, I would proceed as follows:

·         Fry a generous bed of slice onions in butter.
·         Put the breast steaks on the onions for 3 to 5 minutes to ‘seal’
·         Flip and do the same the other side.
·         Pour in something red (I use grape juice but wine is popular!)
·         Bring back to the simmer, then add a generous table spoon of red currant jelly or similar and stir until dissolved.
·         Pour the lot in a slow cooker or crock pot for a couple of hours while you do something else.
·         Serve with mashed Potato to soak up that lovely fruity gravy.
·         Share, enjoy.

This recipe is, I believe, derived from one by Prudence Coats, wife of renowned Pigeon Shooter Archie Coats.
Enjoy tweaking and experimenting with the basic recipe.


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