This was the second of my late night midweek dinners that grew into something unexpected. These pigeon breasts had been sitting in the freezer from the time I made my unfortunate bastilla. Since there was just enough for one, it seemed sensible to use them while Goon was away.
Again, I was just planing to cook them lightly, have some new potatoes and rocket and, maybe, a red wine reduction if I wasn’t falling asleep by that point. As you can see, the new potatoes and salad stayed. But, just before I started cooking, I was flicking through one of my newest cookery books, Geat British Menu, and spotted a starter for pigeon with caramelised red onions. This seemed like a good idea to me so I started frying one small sliced onion with a level tablespoon of sugar and a large knob of butter
As usual, as the onion was caramelising, I had a nose through everything else on the worksurfaces and in our cupboard. This time I discovered one of our mostly finished bottles of plum wine, which I had bought in Borough Market. I could see the plum flavours working very well with the gaminess of the pigeon and the sweet onion.
Usually I wouldn’t add fruit wine to food as it is a bit pricey and I have to go all the way to Borough to get more, but this one needed to be used soon. Plus, those bottles are STRONG with 14.5 % alcohol. I knew what would happen if i started drinking it by myself and I figured that adding a hangover to my already hectic week would be a bad idea.
So my remaining third of a bottle of wine went into my saucepan, not my mouth and, as I let the wine bubble down, the onions turned a very pleasing shade of pinky-purple.This on its own made me love this dish! A quick taste revealed that the sauce was crying out for star anise and cinnamon, so I ground a teaspoon of each and added them to the pan. Finally, I seared the pigeon breasts to medium rare and tossed them in the reduction which by then was very thick.
I think an tangy orange dressing on my rocket and potatoes would have been best to offset the rich sweetness of the pigeon dish but I had no oranges and so a bog standard balsamic vinaigrette had to do. The sweet-tangy combination still worked very well.
This was another one of those dishes that I need to make again. I believe it’s got potential to be really good if I ever get the time to think about it properly. The pigeon itself was great but could have been better with some marinating and a citrus dressing on the salad would have been better. However, in this state it was a very nice midweek dinner and fairly quick to make, which is just what I’ve needed this week.