Pigeon is not quite as popular as it once was, but that has nothing to do with how flavorful and healthy the meat is. The reason for the decline of this type of game meat is that most people simply do not know how to cook it. The fact is, pigeon breasts are an excellent alternative to beef or pork and they go nicely with a wide range of vegetables and starches.
For the most part, pigeon breasts can be prepared in the same manner as chicken breast and should be cooked either very fast by searing in a hot pan or very slow as you might in a dish such as a stew or a casserole.
Some recipes to get you started are listed below.
Pigeon Breast with Stuffing
2 pigeon breasts
4 pieces diced bacon
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
1 cup raw rice
2 cups water, chicken broth or chicken stock
2 beaten eggs
Salt and Pepper according to taste
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Fry bacon in hot pan or skillet until crispy, remove bacon from pan.
-Brown chopped onion and celery in rendered bacon fat return bacon to pan and season.
-Cook rice in water, stock or broth according to directions, season and add celery, onion, bacon and eggs.
-If using thick pigeon breasts, cut a pocket for the stuffing by making a deep slit in one side of the breast without cutting through the opposite side. Place the stuffing inside the pocket, place in oven safe dish.
-For thinner cuts of breast, place the stuffing between two slices or simply place the breasts on top of the rice in an oven safe dish.
-Cover and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes
Note: If you have the hearts available, they can be minced and added to the stuffing for additional flavor. Mushrooms also pair very well with pigeon and can be added to the stuffing.
For the bacon lover, an alternate method would be wrap a slice or two of bacon around the breast and held in place by a toothpick.
Marinated Pan Seared Pigeon Breasts
4 Pigeon Breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
½ clove garlic, peeled and minced
½ of a bay leaf
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
1 sprig of thyme
-Place pigeon breasts and marinade ingredients in covered bowl or sealed plastic bag overnight or for at least 2 hours.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Melt butter in frying pan or skillet and add olive oil.
-Remove breasts from marinade, pat dry, and season to taste.
-Brown each side in hot butter and oil, about 30 seconds on each side.
-Remove from skillet, cover lightly with foil and set aside to rest for about 2 ½ minutes.
-Place breasts in preheated oven for an additional 3 minutes.
A delicious sauce for pan-seared breast can be made using the pan drippings and a few other ingredients.
Ingredients for sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups red wine
1 ¾ cups beef stock
2 onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons thyme
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
-After removing breasts from skillet, add chopped onions and cook until browned.
-Stir in flour.
-Whisk into the flour mixture wine and stock.
-Salt, pepper and add a dash of sugar to taste.
-Cover and simmer on low heat until sauce reaches the desired consistency.-
Stir-Fry Pigeon Breasts
4 pigeon breasts, cut into thin slices
Marinate for at least 30 minutes in 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
3 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup water or chicken stock
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup carrots, sliced
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch
-Coat breast strips lightly in cornstarch.
-Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil in skillet or wok, brown meat about 3-5 minutes, remove from pan and place in a warm oven.
-Add additional oil to skillet.
-Stir in celery, carrots, peppers and onion and cook approximately 4-5 minutes.
-Add water or stock to the mixture and heat.
-Add the pigeon breasts to pan and stir until sauce thickens.-
Pigeon Breast Kabobs
-Marinate cubed breasts of 2 pigeons in ¼ cup Worcester sauce.
-Season with salt and pepper, place on skewers along with chunks of mushroom, onions, bell peppers or chili peppers. This recipe is great for the grill or the oven.-
Pigeon breasts are deliciously versatile and can be served with your favorite sides including rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles. Try variations on any of the above recipes using your favorite spices and vegetables.