Monday 1 September 2008

Pigeon, Squash and Beetroot with Hazelnut Dressing

Linden Hall Hotel in Northumberland was the setting for Taste 2 last weekend. Once again, the place was packed with people wanting to taste and buy superb food from local suppliers. I love these types of events: likeminded people all in one field, being passionate about the subject of local and seasonal food. Well done Jane Hall at The Journal for organising yet another successful celebration of local food.

After my demonstration, I literally bumped into The Hairy Bikers who turned up as the stars of the show. It is hard to put into words how lovely they both are and it is rare that you get such 'down to earth' qualities within people who are so in demand at the moment. The people simply love them and personally, I think they deserve all of the success they get. They connect with the public with no ego or alternative motive, and that is an extremely important quality up here in the North East.

For my demonstration, I showed the audience a simple recipe using one of my favourite cheap eats at this time of the year, wood pigeon. It is a lovely little warm salad of sorts, a nice introduction to anybody who has never had pigeon before and still harbours suspicions. Judging by the elderly lady who had never eaten pigeon before who proceeded to snaffle most of the plate, it obviously worked. Roll on Taste 3.

Pigeon, Squash and Beetroot with Hazelnut Dressing

Feeds 4

1 butternut squash, deseeded, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbsp olive oil
8 rashers of streaky bacon or Parma ham
1 tbsp olive oil
2 beetroots, sliced thinly
500ml Sunflower oil
8 skinless pigeon breasts
2 tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 handfuls of hazelnuts, crushed
2 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp apple juice
4 handfuls of watercress

1 – Pre-heat the oven to 200C, GM6. Put the squash onto a baking tray and toss with the olive oil and a little seasoning. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
2 – Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan then add the bacon or Parma ham. Cook on both sides until crisp and golden. Reserve on kitchen towel.
3 – Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan until. Place in a piece of beetroot and if it floats to the top instantly, it is ready. Place in the beetroot in batches and cook for 5-6 minutes until crisp. Remove and set aside on kitchen towel.
4 – Toss the pigeon breasts in the oil, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Heat up a pan until hot then place in the pigeon. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side then put aside to rest for 2 minutes. Slice each breast diagonally into 3 pieces.
5 – Keep the pan on the heat and put in the hazelnuts. Toast for 1 minute, then pour in the vinegar and apple juice. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat.
6 – To plate up, arrange the watercress on a plate. Place on a few slices of squash, followed by the pigeon. Tuck in the beetroot crisps then drizzle on a little of the hazelnut dressing.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love any event that showcases local foods and producers David. Sounds like a lot of fun...and you are having a large amount of success yourself:D

Laura Paterson said...

This looks like it was a wonderful event David. The salad sounds delicious - the hazelnuts must have given an interesting texture.

Also a big fan of the hairy bikers!

Joanna said...

Great recipe for the first day of autumn


Abitofafoodie said...

What a fantastic recipe, David. I love wood pigeon and am always looking for new ideas for game. What a great combination of flavours.

Celia Hart said...

Yummy recipe!!! and you've been hugged by a real live Hairy Biker!!!

Things can't get much better!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

You meet such cool people David, I am so jealous!

I am loving the hairy biker's hairy baker's series just now! It is great and a lot more accessible to me than their usual shows.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That sounds like a wonderful, earthy combination - hugely appealing. It's going straight on my list of 'must tries'. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

As someone that was lucky enough to sample the leftovers (post-snaffling), I can vouch for how delicious a dish it is.

It's not just the interesting mix of flavours, but also the different textures that add to the experience.

Rosie said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time David at the event! Great pic of you and the hairy biker :)

A brilliant recipe David one for keeping.

Rosie x

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

David, pigeons are simply delightful! I think your recipe is fantastic, the addition of the beets was a particularly inspired touch... I love beets. :) A wonderful seasonal medley with the squash. Sounds like you had a great time, and meeting the Hairy Bikers was a bonus. I know they are quite a popular duo in the UK, and I have caught some of their shows on the telly. Nice to hear that they are as down to earth as their TV personas suggest.

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Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a warm and hearty combination of flavors. I wish you all the best, David. I only wish I could enjoy seeing you in action.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Wow, that is an interesting recipe David... I'm one of those that would be afraid to try pigeon but your dish looks so tempting that maybe I would try ;)

Glad to hear that you like Pierogi... they are my favourite Christmas dish, with sour cabbage and wild mushrooms but my family does not share my opinion so I had to change recipe for them what was a good thing, because it taste even better than original :)

Enjoy your evening, M.

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