Breast of Pigeon with Puy Lentils
By: Christopher TrotterI love pigeon, and here in rural Fife we have a lot of them feeding off the fat of the land! They are very good just now, as they pick up the remains of corn from the harvest, which makes them plump and full of flavour. I have to confess that if I get a whole bird I don't bother to pluck it but just cut the breasts out and use them. They are easy to get from a game dealer or from a local farmer, who will be only too happy to get rid of them. The earthy flavour of the lentils goes well with the bird either as a first course or, with two breasts as a portion, a main course served with a green vegetable such as kale or cabbage.
Puy lentils are tiny green lentils grown in France. They have an advantage over other lentils in that they don't need lots of soaking or cooking.
4 pigeon breasts
450g Puy lentils
4 rashers smoked bacon, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1. Rinse the lentils in fresh water to remove any dust or grit. Place them in a small pan and cover in cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt half the butter with the oil in a large frying pan. When it's hot, place the pigeon breasts skin-side down. Cook on a high heat for 2 or 3 minutes to seal in the juices, then turn over and repeat on the other side. Cover the pan, lower the heat and continue cooking till the pigeon is just done (around 5 minutes). Remove the breasts and keep them warm.
3. Cook the bacon in the pan until just colouring, add the lentils and stir to combine the flavours, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until nearly evaporated (around 3 minutes). Away from the heat, swirl in the remaining butter. Serve each breast on a pool of the lentils.
© Recipe copyright 2004 Christopher Trotter