Pigeon, beets, figs and seaweed


    2 wood pigeon breasts

    4 medium-sized beetroots, boiled, peeled

    and quartered

    4 figs, quartered

    25g of gutweed, thoroughly washed and dried (or finely sliced cabbage)

    1 candy beetroot, peeled and finely sliced

    1 tbsp apple balsamic

    olive oil

    rapeseed oil

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Main serves 2

As executive head chef at River Cottage, Gelf Alderson is a big advocate of farm to fork dining and making the most of what nature’s larder has to offer. This pigeon, beetroot and fig dish screams of shorter days, woolly scarves and leaves on the ground, and makes an ideal dinner party main course.

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Pre-heat the oven to 210C/425F/gas mark 7.


Heat a small pan of rapeseed oil. Add the gutweed a little at a time and deep fry until crispy, taking care as the oil will spit. (Tip: use a lid to cover, and prevent it spitting on you!) Remove and place onto a cloth to drain any excess oil off.


Place the cooked beetroot on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season, then put in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the figs to the beetroot and cook for a further 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, place a heavy-based frying pan on the stove and heat until smoking hot, and add a little light rapeseed oil. Season the pigeon with sea salt and add to the frying pan, skin-side down. Be careful, as the oil will spit once the pigeon is added. Cook for 1 minute on each side, remove from the pan and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.


Remove the beetroots and figs from the oven, and place the figs on your serving plate. Sprinkle the apple balsamic over the beets and stir, then put on the serving plate with the figs.


Slice the rested pigeon into 3-4 slices each and add to the serving plate. Pour over any resting juices and excess balsamic, and garnish with the sliced raw candy beetroot and deep-fried gutweed.

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