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How to Cook Pigeon Breasts (With Recipes)

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused 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 salad with bacon, watercress, toasted pine nuts and peri peri sauce

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

Pigeon Breast and Bacon Salad With Peri Peri Sauce

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

10 min

20 min

One serving

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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 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

Pigeon Breasts, Apple and Sage Casserole

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 2 hours

Ready in: 2 hours 15 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 2 pigeon breasts
  • 1 tablespoon 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 teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 small new potatoes
  • 6 Brussels sprouts
  • Little bit of butter for potatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill

Instructions

  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.
Pigeon breast halves are served on quenelle of sweet potato

Pigeon breast halves are served on quenelle of sweet potato

Pigeon Breasts on Quenelle of Sweet Potato

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • One large sweet potato
  • 2 pigeon breasts
  • 2 teaspoon 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

  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 breasts and venison stew

Pigeon breasts and venison stew

Pigeon Breast and Venison Wild Game Stew

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
  • 6 ounces chopped venison haunch
  • 1 tablespoon 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 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 ounces basmati or long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • Salt and black pepper

Instructions

  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.

Comments

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on February 25, 2013:

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 on February 24, 2013:

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