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How to Cook Pigeon Breasts (with Recipes)

Updated on July 21, 2016
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or under used ingredients.

Pigeon breast and venison casserole is just one of the recipes featured on this page
Pigeon breast and venison casserole is just one of the recipes featured on this page

Pigeon is like most other types of wild game in that it must be cooked either very quickly or very slowly. Anything in between is likely to see the meat served tough and extremely unpalatable. The pigeon breast recipes featured below include recipes of both types, allowing the pigeon to be enjoyed in two very different ways.

Do always be aware when buying pigeon breasts that there is a very real chance that a piece of lead shot or two remains in the meat. A careful check for this prior to cooking can help to significantly reduce the risk of a broken tooth for you or one of your family or guests.

Fresh pigeon breast fillets
Fresh pigeon breast fillets

Pigeon Breast and Bacon Salad with Peri Peri Sauce

Pigeon breast salad with bacon, watercress, toasted pine nuts and peri peri sauce
Pigeon breast salad with bacon, watercress, toasted pine nuts and peri peri sauce

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 20 min
  • Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 skinless pigeon breasts
  • Handful fresh watercress
  • 1 tsp pine nuts
  • Peri peri sauce

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gently frying bacon slicesPigeon breasts are fried in bacon fatFried bacon and pigeon breastsDry toasting pine nuitsWashing the watercressWatercress is plated firstChopped bacon is scattered on watercressSliced pigeon breasts are added to the saladToasted pine nuts are scattered over saladPeri peri sauce is drizzled over salad
Gently frying bacon slices
Gently frying bacon slices
Pigeon breasts are fried in bacon fat
Pigeon breasts are fried in bacon fat
Fried bacon and pigeon breasts
Fried bacon and pigeon breasts
Dry toasting pine nuits
Dry toasting pine nuits
Washing the watercress
Washing the watercress
Watercress is plated first
Watercress is plated first
Chopped bacon is scattered on watercress
Chopped bacon is scattered on watercress
Sliced pigeon breasts are added to the salad
Sliced pigeon breasts are added to the salad
Toasted pine nuts are scattered over salad
Toasted pine nuts are scattered over salad
Peri peri sauce is drizzled over salad
Peri peri sauce is drizzled over salad
  1. Put the bacon in to a dry frying pan over a low heat. As the fat starts to be released, increase the heat and fry for a couple of minutes each side until done. Remove to a heated plate and keep warm in a low oven.
  2. Fry the pigeon breasts for two or three minutes each side in the bacon fat. They should always be served slightly pink in the centre or they will be tough. Add to the plate with the bacon and rest for five minutes.
  3. Wash the watercress and shake it dry. Lay it on the serving plate. Toast the pine nuts for a couple of minutes in a clean, dry frying pan.
  4. Chop the bacon and pigeon breasts in to small bite-sized pieces and scatter over the watercress, followed by the pine nuts. Drizzle with the peri peri sauce.

Pigeon Breasts, Apple and Sage Casserole

Pigeon breast, apple and sage casserole with boiled new potatoes and Brussels sprouts
Pigeon breast, apple and sage casserole with boiled new potatoes and Brussels sprouts

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 2 hours

Ready in: 2 hours 15 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 2 pigeon breasts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Bramley apple, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small carrot, topped, tailed and roughly chopped
  • ¾ pint fresh chicken stock
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 small new potatoes
  • 6 Brussels sprouts
  • Little bit of butter for potatoes
  • ½ tsp dried dill

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sliced pigeon breastsBrowning pigeon breastsBrowned pigeon breastsVegetable ingredients for pigeon casserolePrepared fruit and vegetables for pigeon casserolePigeon breasts and veg are added to casserole dishPigeon casserole is ready for the ovenButter and dill are added to drained new potatoesPigeon breast, apple and sage casseroleDill buttered potatoes and sprouts are plated
Sliced pigeon breasts
Sliced pigeon breasts
Browning pigeon breasts
Browning pigeon breasts
Browned pigeon breasts
Browned pigeon breasts
Vegetable ingredients for pigeon casserole
Vegetable ingredients for pigeon casserole
Prepared fruit and vegetables for pigeon casserole
Prepared fruit and vegetables for pigeon casserole
Pigeon breasts and veg are added to casserole dish
Pigeon breasts and veg are added to casserole dish
Pigeon casserole is ready for the oven
Pigeon casserole is ready for the oven
Butter and dill are added to drained new potatoes
Butter and dill are added to drained new potatoes
Pigeon breast, apple and sage casserole
Pigeon breast, apple and sage casserole
Dill buttered potatoes and sprouts are plated
Dill buttered potatoes and sprouts are plated
  1. Put your oven on to preheat to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, season the pigeon breasts and quickly brown and seal them in the oil.
  3. Add the pigeon breasts, onion, apple, carrot and sage to a casserole dish and pour in the chicken stock. Stir to mix well.
  4. Cook in the oven for one hour and forty-five minutes.
  5. Twenty minutes before the casserole is due to be ready, put the potatoes in to some cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for thirty minutes.
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven. Set safely aside to rest for fifteen minutes.
  7. Add the Brussels sprouts to a pot of salted, boiling water and simmer for ten minutes.
  8. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot with a little butter and the dill. Gently swirl the pot to evenly coat.
  9. Drain the Brussels sprouts and plate with the potatoes. Use a slotted spoon to add the pigeon casserole to the plate and serve.

How Nutritious is Pigeon Breast?

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 pigeon breast
Calories 135
Calories from Fat45
% Daily Value *
Fat 5 g8%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 22 g44%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Pigeon Breasts on Quenelle of Sweet Potato

Pigeon breast halves are served on quenelle of sweet potato
Pigeon breast halves are served on quenelle of sweet potato

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • One large sweet potato
  • 2 pigeon breasts
  • 2 tsp beetroot, apple and horseradish chutney (or similar)
  • Fresh coriander leaf/cilantro to garnish
  • Little bit of butter for mashing sweet potato
  • Salt and white pepper

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sweet potato ready for boilingGarlic and thyme add flavour to the oil for frying pigeon breastsPigeon breasts are added to frying panPigeon breasts are turned halfway through cookingPigeon breasts are restedSweet potatoes are allowed to steam and dryMashing sweet potatoesQuenelles of sweet potatoPigeon breast halves are laid on sweet potato quenellesChutney is spooned around pigeon breasts and sweet potato
Sweet potato ready for boiling
Sweet potato ready for boiling
Garlic and thyme add flavour to the oil for frying pigeon breasts
Garlic and thyme add flavour to the oil for frying pigeon breasts
Pigeon breasts are added to frying pan
Pigeon breasts are added to frying pan
Pigeon breasts are turned halfway through cooking
Pigeon breasts are turned halfway through cooking
Pigeon breasts are rested
Pigeon breasts are rested
Sweet potatoes are allowed to steam and dry
Sweet potatoes are allowed to steam and dry
Mashing sweet potatoes
Mashing sweet potatoes
Quenelles of sweet potato
Quenelles of sweet potato
Pigeon breast halves are laid on sweet potato quenelles
Pigeon breast halves are laid on sweet potato quenelles
Chutney is spooned around pigeon breasts and sweet potato
Chutney is spooned around pigeon breasts and sweet potato
  1. Peel the sweet potato and chop it in to one and a half inch chunks. Add to a pot with plenty of cold water and season with salt. Bring the water to a boil on a high heat and reduce to simmer for twenty minutes, or until the sweet potato is softened.
  2. When the sweet potato has been simmering for fifteen minutes, heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the pigeon breasts for two to three minutes each side. Season with salt and pepper. Lay them on a hot plate and cover with foil to rest for five minutes.
  3. Drain the sweet potatoes and return them to the pot. Leave to steam for a few minutes. Add the butter, season with white pepper and mash.
  4. Quenelle the sweet potato with two identical spoons (see video below for simple instructions) and arrange on a serving plate. Cut each pigeon breast in half and lay carefully on top of the quenelles.
  5. Spoon the chutney on to the plate and garnish with the coriander/cilantro for service.

How to Quenelle Sweet Potato

Pigeon Breast and Venison Wild Game Stew

Pigeon breasts and venison stew
Pigeon breasts and venison stew

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 2 hours

Ready in: 2 hours 15 min

Yields: Two servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pigeon breasts, each one cut in to three equal sized pieces
  • 6oz chopped venison haunch
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ medium white onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1½ pints fresh beef stock
  • ¼ bottle red wine
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 6oz basmati or long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • Salt and black pepper

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pigeon breasts and diced venison loinPigeon breasts are cut in to three pieces, each the same size as the venison chunksPigeon and venison meat is browned in a little oilSliced peppers and onion for game stewPepper and onion slices are stirred through browned pigeon and venisonBeef stock and red wine is added to browned meatRice is rinsed in cold water before it is cookedParsley is stirred through cooked riceRice bed prepared for wild game stewPigeon and venison stew is spooned on to rice bed
Pigeon breasts and diced venison loin
Pigeon breasts and diced venison loin
Pigeon breasts are cut in to three pieces, each the same size as the venison chunks
Pigeon breasts are cut in to three pieces, each the same size as the venison chunks
Pigeon and venison meat is browned in a little oil
Pigeon and venison meat is browned in a little oil
Sliced peppers and onion for game stew
Sliced peppers and onion for game stew
Pepper and onion slices are stirred through browned pigeon and venison
Pepper and onion slices are stirred through browned pigeon and venison
Beef stock and red wine is added to browned meat
Beef stock and red wine is added to browned meat
Rice is rinsed in cold water before it is cooked
Rice is rinsed in cold water before it is cooked
Parsley is stirred through cooked rice
Parsley is stirred through cooked rice
Rice bed prepared for wild game stew
Rice bed prepared for wild game stew
Pigeon and venison stew is spooned on to rice bed
Pigeon and venison stew is spooned on to rice bed
  1. Put the oil in to a large stew pot and bring up to a medium heat. Lightly season the pigeon and venison meats before browning and sealing in the oil.
  2. Add the peppers, onion and thyme and stir well for a further minute or so.
  3. Pour in the beef stock and red wine. Bring to a gentle simmer for one and three-quarter hours or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally. If you achieve a gentle enough simmer, no further liquid should be required but you can top up with a little boiling water if necessary.
  4. Turn the heat off under the stew, cover and leave to rest while you cook the rice.
  5. Put the rice in a sieve and wash under running cold water. Tip it carefully in to a large pot of boiling, slightly salted water and simmer for ten minutes.
  6. Drain the rice through the sieve and return to the empty pot. Stir through the parsley and divide between two plates as a bed for the stew.
  7. Spoon the stew on to the rice and garnish with the remaining parsley.

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    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Torri Lynn. Thanks for visiting and commenting and I hope you get the chance to try pigeon breast. So many ingredients can be bought online now, vacuum packed, making them accessible to people where they never were before. I hope you manage to get a hold of them as they really are delicious :)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      hi gordon,

      i never had pigeon breast before

      but i am willing and able to try it with the recipes and tips that you have provided

      im always interested in trying something new and different

      voted up