Generally considered the tastiest and meatiest of all the pigeons, wood pigeons are commonplace in the wild. Allow one or two birds per person for a main course; two pan-fried breasts make a generous starter for one. Most of the meat comes from the breast and these are best quickly pan-fried and served pink. Butchers should be happy to take the breasts off the birds for you (ask them to keep the carcasses for you as these make good stock). Young, tender pigeons can be roasted whole, but if you’re in doubt as to their age, braise or stew them instead.
A young pigeon will have a supple breastbone and plump, pink flesh - these are ideal for roasting. Older birds, better for the stew pot, will have darker meat and more wrinkled skin. Pigeon, squab and woodpigeon are available all year.
Article by Louisa Carter
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