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The opening ceremony

This recipe for the Olympic Great British Menu pushes the boundaries for a delicate pigeon starter.


For the risotto fritters
For the pigeon sauce
For the chicken liver sabayon
For the caramelised hazelnuts
For the pigeon breasts
For the wild boar lardons
  • 250g/9oz wild boar pancetta, cut into small strips

For the asparagus
For the salad

Preparation method

  1. For the risotto fritters, heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Stir in the rice and continue to cook until the rice begins to look translucent, then start to add the white chicken stock, a ladle at a time, whilst continuously stirring. Make sure the rice doesn’t dry up and continue adding stock until the rice is cooked, the rice should be creamy but firm to the bite. Spread out onto a tray so that it sits about 1.5cm/½in thick and leave to set up for about 6-8 hours in the fridge.

  2. For the pigeon sauce, heat a splash of oil over a medium heat in a frying pan, add the shallots, garlic, then the pigeon carcasses and legs and cook on all sides to colour.

  3. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large pan and add the shallots, garlic, carcasses and legs and cook on a medium heat for an hour to reduce to a sauce.

  4. For the chicken liver sabayon, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan on a low to medium heat, add the livers and fry gently for 3-4 minutes each side. In a food processor, blend the livers to a purée, then pass through a fine sieve.

  5. Place a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water, add the egg yolks and two tablespoons of water and whisk together until yolks thicken enough to fall into thin ribbons when whisk is lifted from bowl. Add the chicken liver purée and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick and shiny.

  6. For the caramelised hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place the hazelnuts onto a dry roasting tray and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until they start to brown.

  7. Heating the sugar and 100ml/3½fl oz water in a pan until the sugar dissolves, then add the hazelnuts and continue to cook until the syrup is thick and coats the nuts. Strain the nuts from the sugar and place onto parchment paper, so that they are all individually coated, and leave to set. Place the oil into a heavy based, deep sided pan and heat to 180C/355F, alternatively use a deep fat fryer. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Deep fry the nuts until golden-brown. Sprinkle with salt and set aside until needed.

  8. To finish the risotto fritters, cut the cooled risotto into 2cm/1in squares and drizzle with a little truffle oil. Place the egg, flour and breadcrumb into three separate bowls and coat all the risotto squares first in the egg, then the flour and then the breadcrumb. Using the same pan, or fryer, as for the caramelised nuts, deep fry the risotto fritters until golden-brown, then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

  9. For the pigeon breasts, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan on a low to medium heat, add the pigeon breasts and fry gently for 4-5 minutes each side. Leave to rest for five minutes then slice the breasts into pieces 1.5cm/ ½in thick.

  10. For the wild boar lardons, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the lardons for 4-5 minutes, until browned.

  11. For the asparagus, bring a pan of water up to the boil, add the asparagus and cook until softened, take out of the pan and refresh in iced water. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add in the butter, and asparagus and cook for about two minutes, until nicely glazed.

  12. For the salad, wash the dandelion, pea shoots and rocket. Dress with the olive oil, lemon juice and toss.

  13. To serve, place a light bed of salad on a plate, scatter pieces of pigeon breast, asparagus and risotto fritters around. Sprinkle caramelised hazelnuts and wild boar lardons over and finish with a drizzle of the pigeon sauce and a couple of spoonfuls of liver sabayon.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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Great British Menu 35. Wales Judging bbc_two Great British Menu

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