This recipe makes the most of every part of the pigeon and is served in a smoked-filled cloche to enhance the smoky flavours and add a bit of drama to the dining experience.
Equipment and preparation: You will need a food smoker, a tammy sieve and a smoking gun.
For the almonds, in a bowl, cover the almonds in just enough olive oil to cover them.
For the pigeon, prepare the pigeons for roasting by removing the wings, legs, heart and liver and cleaning out the crown.
Place the demerara sugar and a handful of the rosemary (stalks and all) in the base of a smoker. Place the pigeon crowns on the smoker rack and place it on top of the sugar. Cover the smoker and smoke over a high heat for two minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered for an additional 10 minutes.
Add the whole crowns to a vacuum bag with the butter and two sprigs of rosemary, vac pack and cook in a water bath at 65C/150F for 10 minutes.
For the confit pigeon wings, place the pigeon wings in a small pan with the duck fat, thyme and garlic. Confit slowly for roughly 20 minutes, until soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the fat for roughly 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to handle.
Trim at both ends of the wings, slide the bones out from the middle and trim to neaten up. Place in the fridge to chill.
For the chicken mousse, chop the chicken breasts, place in a blender and blend to a paste. Pass through a tammy sieve, return to the blender, add the salt and blend. Add 100ml/3½oz of cream at a time and pulse until thick and shiny (you may not need all the cream). When you think the mousse is ready, check that the consistency is correct by wrapping a small portion in cling film, poaching it and tasting. If there’s not enough cream, it will be too firm and rubbery and if there’s too much it will be too soft and greasy.
For the pigeon legs, braise the pigeon legs with the shallot, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, crushed peppercorns, white wine, chicken stock and veal stock for 15 minutes, or until soft. Remove and leave to cool in the liquid, for roughly 10 minutes, until you can handle the meat.
Remove the legs from the liquid, reserving the juices, and pick the meat. Mix the meat with the chicken mousse in a bowl, adding a little at a time so that it just binds together. Add approximately one tablespoon of the braising jliquid, the chopped chives and orange zest. Set aside the remaining braising liquid.
Cut the spring green leaves into 10cm/4in circles. Blanch and refresh in iced water.
Wrap the pigeon leg mix in the braised spring greens, wrap in cling film and poach for four minutes.
For the liver parfait, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line a tin with cling film.
Make a shallot reduction, by adding the shallot, garlic, thyme, red wine, port and brandy to a pan over a medium heat and reducing until there’s no liquid left. Remove and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Rinse the pigeon livers and blend with the shallot reduction and pink salt. Gradually whisk in the eggs and then the butter. Season and pass through a sieve.
Pour into the lined tray and cover with foil. Place in another tray of water to form a bain marie and cook in the oven at 170C/325F/Gas 3 for 8-12 minutes until set.
For the grelot petals, cook the grelot onion in an emulsion of chicken stock, butter and salt for 30 seconds to a minute, then set aside.
For the apricot purée, cook the apricots in a hot pan, without colouring, with a little butter and salt until soft and all of the natural liquid has evaporated. Blend, season and pass through a sieve.
For the jus, pass the reserved pigeon leg braising liquid through a fine sieve into a pan to make the sauce. Loosen it with chicken stock or simmer over a medium heat to reduce the volume of liquid further to get the sauce to your preferred consistency.
For the hearts, heat a pan with the olive oil, butter, thyme and garlic. When foaming, add the heart and fry for 20 seconds, rolling it around the pan so that it colours evenly. Drain and place into the jus ready to serve.
For the girolles, heat a clean pan with some olive oil, butter, thyme and garlic. When foaming, add the girolles and fry for 20 seconds, rolling around the pan so that they colour evenly. Drain and place in the jus ready to serve.
For the endive, dress the endive in salt, pepper and olive oil.
To serve, heat a pan with a little olive oil, butter, the thyme and garlic. When foaming, add the pigeon crown and fry until golden-brown all over. Remove and rest for five minutes.
Fry the confit pigeon wings, skin-side down, in a little oil until crisp.
Spoon the liver parfait into a piping bag and pipe into individual grelot onion shells.
Finish off the jus by stirring though the dried apricots and rosemary.
Arrange a large and small swipe of the apricot purée on each plate. Make four skewers with a rosemary stalk, push the heart and wings onto each skewer and place on top of the small swipe of purée.
Carve the pigeon breast into thick slices. Scatter the sliced pigeon breast, spring green parcels, grelot onions, girolles, endive and almonds over the top of the large swipe.
Garnish the plate with dehydrated apricot crumbs and the jus.
Charge a smoking gun with the woodchips and remaining rosemary stalks. Place a glass cloche over the top of the dishes. Fill with smoke and serve immediately.
Type the ingredients you want to use, then click Go. For better results you can use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "chicken breast"). Alternatively you can search by chef, programme, cuisine, diet, or dish (e.g. Lasagne).
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.