Date, Saffron & Pigeon Tagine

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Date, Saffron & Pigeon Tagine

An uncharacteristically quick and easy tagine, starring wild pigeon breast from Hampshire with saffron and sweetened with dried dates.


  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A thumb of ginger
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 50g dried dates
  • 250g wild pigeon breasts
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 150g wholewheat couscous
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 400ml + 300ml boiling water

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 30 mins

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1. Peel and slice the onion into around 8 wedges. Peel and grate the garlic and the ginger. Finely chop the flat leaf parsley stalks (keep the leaves for later). Roughly chop the dates.
2. Roughly chop the pigeon breasts into bite-size pieces (look out for any lead shot left in the pigeon). Warm a deep frying pan or shallow casserole dish for 2 mins. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and the pigeon breasts. Fry for 4 mins, turning them once, till they're browned all. Transfer the pigeon breasts to a plate.
3. Turn the heat down under the pan and add the onion with a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 mins till the onion wedges have softened and look a little glossy.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, parsley and chopped dates to the pan. Chuck in 1 cinnamon stick and empty in the saffron powder. Sizzle for 1 min. Return the pigeon to the pan with any juices from the plate.
5. Pour in 400ml boiling water. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Pop on a lid and simmer for 20 mins till the pigeon breasts are tender.
6. While the pigeon tagine cooks, tip the couscous into a bowl. Pour in 300ml boiling water. Cover with a plate or cling film and leave to soak while you make the tagine.
7. Trim the courgettes. Halve them and chop into small chunks. Warm a frying pan over a medium heat for 1 min. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and the courgette. Season with salt and pepper. Fry, turning them a few times, for 5 mins till they are golden and tender.
8. Taste the pigeon tagine and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Fluff the couscous with a fork and divide betwen 2 warm bowls. Top with the courgettes and pigeon tagine. Garnish with parsley leaves to serve.
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