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Pigeon with blackberries and chanterelles

This is as seasonal as food gets. In late summer, when the grains are being harvested, pigeons take the opportunity to help themselves to whatever the combine harvester leaves behind. At the same time, chanterelles are popping up in the woods and the hedgerows are groaning with blackberries. Lunch is looking good. This recipe also works well with duck breasts.


Place a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add a little rapeseed oil. Season the pigeon breasts with salt and pepper and add them to the hot pan. Give them a minute or two, until they start to form a nice caramelised layer on the base.

Now turn them over and add the chanterelles and butter at the same time. After about another 2 minutes, once the pigeon breasts are firm but not overcooked, remove them to a warm plate and set aside in a warm spot to rest.

Finish cooking the chanterelles for another minute or two, then lift them out and put them with the pigeon.

Turn off the heat and pop the blackberries into the pan to warm and release a little juice.

Add any resting juices from the pigeon and mushrooms to the berries.

Divide the salad leaves between a couple of plates. Slice the pigeon breasts and arrange on the leaves, then scatter over the mushrooms. Spoon on the blackberries and sprinkle over the juices from the pan. Drizzle with a little more rapeseed oil if you think it needs it and serve with some fresh crusty bread.

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  • Rapeseed oil, for cooking
  • 4 plump pigeon breasts
  • 2 good handfuls of chanterelles, trimmed and brushed clean of grit
  • A knob of butter
  • A good handful of blackberries
  • A couple of handfuls of salad leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Game Handbook