Smoked pigeon salad with beetroot, apples and walnuts



For the smoked pigeon

For the beetroot purée

For the salad

  • 250g/9oz cooked beetroot, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 25g/1oz walnut halves, toasted
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 50ml/2fl oz walnut oil
  • 50ml/2fl oz Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g/2oz baby red chard leaves, to serve
  • You'll need a small bag of smoking chips (available from online stores and some garden centres)


  1. For the smoked pigeon, remove the legs and breasts from the pigeons. Take the thigh bone out of the legs and discard. Season the pigeon legs with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan until hot, then add the boned pigeon legs and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Leave to rest in a warm place.

  3. Meanwhile, place some smoking chips in the bottom half of a metal steamer and place over a medium-high heat. When the chips begin to smoke, place the pigeon breasts into the top half of the steamer, cover with a lid and smoke for four minutes. (CAUTION: this cooking method generates a lot of smoke. Cook in a well-ventilated area.)

  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the pan used to cook the legs. Take the pigeon breasts out of the steamer, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place in the pan. Cook for one minute, then add the butter and turn over. Cook for a further minute, or until cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest in a warm place.

  5. For the beetroot purée, place a pan over a medium heat, add the butter, beetroot, port and vinegar and cook for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

  6. Transfer the beetroot mixture to a blender and blend to a purée. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and keep warm.

  7. For the salad, place the beetroot, apple, walnuts and onion into a bowl and stir well.

  8. Place the honey, walnut oil, vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the salad and stir to coat.

  9. To serve, arrange the salad around the edge of each of two serving plates and top with the baby red chard leaves. Spoon the beetroot purée in the centre of each plate and place the pigeon on top.