pigeon breasts with blackcurrant sauce

Valentine Warner’s pigeon breasts with blackcurrant sauce

  • serves 2
  • A little effort

Valentine Warner's pigeon breasts with blackcurrant sauce takes a little effort but is well worth it. Pigeons and blackcurrants are a splendid partnership - the fruit complements the gamey meat really well.



  • wood pigeon 2, ready for cooking
  • sunflower oil 2-3 tbsp
  • carrot ½ medium, scrubbed and cut into short lengths
  • onion ½ a small one, peeled
  • celery stick 1, cut into short lengths
  • curly parsley 1 small bunch
  • salt flakes ½ tsp
  • good white bread 2 slices, crusts removed
  • rindless streaky bacon 2 rashers
  • red wine 150ml
  • blackcurrants 100g
  • cold butter 15g, diced


  • Step 1

    Take the breasts off the pigeons by slicing between the flesh and the breast bones (or ask the butcher to do it for you). You should end up with four breast fillets. Put on a plate skin-side up, cover with clingfilm and put to one side.

  • Step 2

    Chop the rest of the carcass into large pieces. Heat a medium saucepan over a high heat. Add roughly 2 tsp of oil and fry the carcass pieces, carrot, onion, celery and parsley stalks together until browned.

  • Step 3

    Sprinkle with salt and pour over 600ml cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes, skimming when necessary. Finely chop the parsley leaves, cover and set aside.

  • Step 4

    Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Strain the stock though a sieve into a clean pan and return to the boil. Boil hard until the liquid has reduced to around 5 tbsp.

  • Step 5

    Brush the bread with oil on both sides and put on a baking tray. Cook at the centre of the oven for 6-8 minutes until crisp around the edges but a little squidgy in the middle.

  • Step 6

    Heat a small non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Rub the pigeon breasts with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the pan, skin-side down, with the bacon and cook for 3 minutes until golden.

  • Step 7

    Turn the pigeon breasts and bacon over and cook for a further 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the bacon, then transfer them to a board to rest. Give the bacon a little longer if needs be. Tt should be nice and crisp.

  • Step 8

    Remove the bacon and return the pan to the heat and deglaze with the red wine. Allow the wine to reduce to around 3 tbsp then stir in the stock and simmer for a few seconds. Add the blackcurrants and cook for 2-3 minutes until the fruit is soft but holding its shape and the stock is syrupy. Season.

  • Step 9

    Gradually whisk the cold butter into the stock and swirl around the pan until the sauce is thickened and glossy. Put the hot toast on 2 warmed plates. Arrange 2 breasts on each toast with the slice of bacon on top and spoon over the sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 632
  • Fat 37.5g
  • Carbs 26.4g
  • Fibre 2.4g
  • Protein 43g
  • Salt 2.25g