Sloe Braised Pigeon with Rosemary Bean Mash & Crispy Kale
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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn tree. They have a sharp plummy flavour that matches the richness of pigeon breast. The best of autumn eating.
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749 kcal
(per portion)
Ingredients you'll need
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 4 shallots
  • 250g wild pigeon breasts
  • 100g sloe berries
  • 5 juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 chilli
  • 200g red kale
  • A handful of rosemary, leaves only
  • 2 x 400g tins of butter beans
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
From your kitchen
  • 200ml + 300ml boiling water
  • 4 tsp + 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
You'll need
Step by step this way
  • 1.

    Peel and finely slice 1 garlic clove. Pour 200ml boiling water into a pan. Bring to the boil. Add the sliced garlic. Crumble in half the stock cube (save the rest for later). Simmer for 10 mins, then set aside.

  • 2.

    While the stock simmers, peel and finely dice the shallots. Rub the pigeon breasts with 1 tsp oil each and season with salt and pepper.

  • 3.

    Set a frying over a high heat. When hot, add the pigeon breasts and cook for 2 mins on each side to brown them. Lift them out of the pan. Pop on a warm plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest while you finish the dish.

  • 4.

    Pour ½ tbsp oil into the frying pan. Add the shallots and cook for 5 mins till softened. Add the sloes and juniper berries and cook for 5 mins till the sloes begin to burst and soften. Crumble in the rest of the stock cube and add 300ml boiling water. Reduce the heat. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp honey. Gently cook for a further 10 mins.

  • 5.

    While the sloe sauce cooks, peel and slice the remaining garlic clove. Halve the chilli and flick out most of the seeds. Finely chop it. Pull the leaves from the kale and roughly chop them. Thinly slice the thick stems. Set aside.

  • 6.

    Put the garlic stock back on the heat. Drain the butter beans. Rinse them and add to the pan. Cover. Cook for 5 mins to warm the beans through. While they cook, finely chop the rosemary leaves.

  • 7.

    Tip the beans and any cooking liquid into a food processor. Add the chopped rosemary, plenty of pepper and a pinch of salt. Blitz till smooth and creamy. Spoon back into the pan and cover with a lid to keep warm.

  • 8.

    Pour the sloe sauce through a sieve into a jug. Mash the sloe berries in the sieve with the back of a fork to get as much of the juices and flavour out as possible. Pour the sauce back into the pan and set on the lowest heat. Taste and add more honey or salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Place the browned pigeon breasts into the sauce. Pop on a lid and cook on a low heat for 5 mins.

  • 9.

    Heat a separate frying pan or wok. Pour in 1 tbsp oil. Add the kale, chilli and garlic with a good pinch of salt. Fry for 3-4 mins till softened and crisp at the edges.

  • 10.

    Spoon the butter bean and rosemary mash on to a couple of plates. Place the pigeon breasts on top. Spoon over the sloe berry sauce. Serve with the crispy kale and garnish with parsley leaves.

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