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Eat the Seasons - August Recipe of the Month

 9th Aug 2012

Warm salad of Alresford wood pigeon with caramelised walnuts and beetroot compote - Matthew TomkinsonFantastic all year round, the wood pigeon's rich taste is complimented perfectly by the flavoursome caramelised walnuts and then the light burst of beetroot compote brings all of the flavours together.




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

Pigeon and sauce

• 1 tbsp of honey
• 30g of butter
• 175 ml of red wine, fruity
• 500ml of dark chicken stock
• 4 pigeon crowns
• 100g of mirepoix
• 8 pigeon legs, roasted

Candied walnuts

• 100g of sugar
• 100ml of water
• 20 walnut halves

Pickled mushrooms

• 1 bay leaf
• 50g of caster sugar
• 42ml of white wine vinegar
• 42ml of water
• 1 sprig of thyme
• 100g of Hon Shimegi mushrooms

Beetroot compote

• 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
• 30g of butter
• 250 ml of red wine
• 20g of capers
• 2 large beetroots
• 1 English apple, peeled, cored and grated
• 2 tbsp of redcurrant jelly

To plate

• 1 handful of watercress


1. To make the candied walnuts, dissolve sugar in an equal amount of water and pour over 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
2. For the pickled mushrooms, bring the water and vinegar to the boil. Add the sugar to taste and then drop in everything else. Remove from the heat and chill
3. Girolles can be used as an alternative to the Hon Shimeji mushrooms if they are unavailable
4. For the beetroot compote, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 3. Wrap the beetroots in foil, and then bake the sealed foil parcels for 40 minutes until they are just tender. When cool, peel and coarsely grate
5. In a small pan, sweat the onion in the butter then add the beetroot and the apple, followed by the capers. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the wine and jelly and cook until thick and glossy
6. For the pigeon, first preheat the oven to 240°C/Gas mark 9. Then prepare the sauce. Sweat the mirepoix in the butter for five minutes, add honey and allow to caramelise before adding the wine and reducing by half
7. Roast the pigeon legs at 180c for 15 minutes until golden brown before adding to the mirepoix
8. Add the stock and legs and simmer for an hour. Pass through a sieve and reserve. Brown the crowns in a hot pan using olive oil and place in the oven for six minutes. Allow to rest and carve the breasts off
9. 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 dressed watercress leaves and a few spoons of the sauce

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