2 whole pigeons
175ml red wine
3 tbsps morello cherry preserve
1 1/2 tbsps red wine vinegar
6 halved cherries
1 tbsp corn flour
Oil for cooking
Salt & pepper to season
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Season the pigeon by rubbing a little salt into all surfaces of the skin. In a frying pan on a medium to high heat with a little oil in, sear off the pigeons until slightly browned.
Place the pigeons on a roasting tray and place in the oven for 12 minutes, continue for a further 2-4 minutes for if well done is your preference.
Whilst the pigeons are roasting, take a small saucepan for the sauce and add the preserve, wine, port, vinegar, and halved cherries and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Simmer on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, to reduce for about 10 minutes. Sieve in the corn flour gradually to thicken. Continue to simmer for a further few minutes until the sauce takes on a thick, silky consistency.
The sauce can now be served drizzled over the birds ensuring the cherries are shared equally.
The younger the bird, the more tender it will be. A way to tell, I was once told, is to push in the breast bone, the more flexible it is the younger the bird may be. Squab is the name for a young pigeon, if you can get one try it out with this recipe.
Squab is even better
When cooking small whole birds, such as this, I tend to forget the potatoes and just serve with a a large portion of roasted vegetables, as quite frankly I don't want to take away from the main event. Pigeon is quite a small but cheap bird and I am always surprised how much meat you can actually get off them. When cooked right, pigeon can be very succulent and tender, but it also has a unique subtle gamey flavour.