This is an extremely easy recipe to follow at home. Bursting with bold flavours and original combinations. The subtle sweetness of ripe peaches combined with the delicate earthiness of the turnips brings this roast to another dimension.
Whole roast pigeon with peaches, turnips and sage
- 2 whole wood pigeon
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 juicy peaches (or nectarines)
- 4 medium sized turnips
- 2 baby gem lettuce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 finely chopped sage leaves
- 250ml of chicken stock (or water)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Place the pigeons, breast-side down into the pan, and turn every 3 minutes to evenly sear and achieve a golden colour all over. Then transfer the birds, breast-side up into a roasting tray. Season the pigeons with salt and pepper and fill its cavity with a sprig of thyme, crush garlic clove and tablespoon of butter. Depending on the size of the birds, roast for 10 to 12 minutes.
- When cooked; remove from the oven and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
- In the meantime; peel the peaches and thoroughly rinse the turnips. Segment the fruit into bitesize morsels and halve the turnips (keeping the tops when possible).
- Sauté the peaches together with the halved gems in a heated pan with olive oil. Only remove the fruit segments once lightly caramelised on each side and the gem lettuce have charred.
- Place the stock and butter in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the turnips to the pan and cook for 6 to 8 minutes with a lid. Then remove the lid and cook for a further 4 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the turnips are beautifully glazed. Finally season the vegetables to taste and sprinkle in the sage leafs.
Wines to match with roast pigeon
Roast wood pigeon needs a mature but flavorful red wine. I think a Bordeaux wine would do wonders for this delicious game dish. The 2012 Château Liversan Haut-Medoc delivers ripe blackberry aromas with a delicate smoky finish which truly complements the roasted pigeon. Excellent value for money.
Slightly younger, the Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine des Lises, Domaine Maxime Graillot 2013 delivers generous fruity aromas. This 100% Syrah from the Rhône region also provides hints of tapenade and red fruit; which elegantly supplements the original garnish in this recipe.
Finally, one of the UK’s best loved red wines and a superb match for pigeon: Rioja. More specifically the Muga Selección Especial, Gran Reserve 2010. The Tempranillo grapes that are aged in barrels deliver just the right balance between smokiness and dark fruit flavours. A perfect match for game birds in general.
Château Liversan, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux 2012 – An incredibly stylish red, unctuous with dark, plum fruit flavours with a seductive smoky aroma and dry tannins that complement the sweet peach perfectly.
Domaine des Lises, Domaine Maxime Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage 2013 – Hints of tobacco and red fruits give this red tremendous body and an incredibly deep, full flavour. With rich game such as pigeon, this Syrah is a wonderful partner.
Muga Selección Especial, Gran Reserve, Rioja 2010 – A really fabulous Rioja – spicy, aromatic and with wonderful floral aromas that hit the nose expectedly. Layer upon layer of fruit and spice, it is a true joy to drink, especially alongside such a deliciously powerful dish.