How To Cook Pigeon Breast

Warm lentil salad with pigeon breast on top / How to cook pigeon / SHE-EATSWarm pigeon salad and pigeon with roast veg

My cooking is very autumnal in tone at the moment. My cookies are oat, my cakes are spiced and my meals are cosy.

I was challenged by Wild and Game to introduce pigeon into my meal planning to showcase this under used meat.* I must admit that I’ve eaten pigeon in restaurants before, but I can’t think that I’ve ever cooked it at home.

When I cook chicken I prefer thigh as the meat is tastier. I’d compare pigeon breast to chicken thigh in terms of flavour; it’s a slightly richer flavour, a bit gamey but subtle at the same time. Packet of pigeon fillets / How to cook pigeon / SHE-EATS

Wild and Game sell these pigeon breast fillets in packs of eight. They look small so I used two each, but honestly I think one would have been plenty enough for most non-greedy people.  They also sell pheasant and grouse breasts, as well as whole birds, and game ready meals, sausages, pies and pates. It is all delivered frozen meaning that we can eat a range of game year-round.

Pigeon breasts cooking in a pan /How to cook pigeon / SHE-EATS

Cook it fast, keep it pink

The key to cooking pigeon breast is to keep it short and snappy. Think of it like steak and sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes then wrap and rest it. Keep it pink in the middle otherwise it can go a bit tough. Get it right and your knife will slide through it.

warm lentil salad / How to cook pigeon / SHE-EATS

I use it first in a warm salad. Because it’s that time of year when I can easily slip into beige food mode, I need to remember veg! Green lentils are filling and the tiny beetroot from my garden were sweet when roasted. Andrew declared this a restaurant-worthy meal and berated me for snapping my plate not his as it apparently looked like I had gone full on chef on his! More good luck than management trust me!

Warm Pigeon Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Pigeon is available year-round, but this warm lentil salad is especially great for autumn and winter meals. 

Course: Main Course
Keyword: Pigeon
Servings: 2
Author: Claire
  • 4 Pigeon breast fillets
  • 100 g pancetta / streaky bacon small cubes/ slices
  • 200 g waxy new potatoes
  • 4 baby beetroot or 1 large
  • 150 g green lentils
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mustard dressing
  • 1/2 bananna shallot finely diced
  1. Preheat oven to 200c and boil a kettle. 

  2. Cut the potatoes roughly into half or quarters depending on the size (you are looking for it to be small enough to go on the end of your fork). Wash and cut the beetroot into roughly the same size. toss in approx 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning occasionally. 

  3. In a pan, cover the lentils with boiling water, bring back to a boil and then simmer gently until cooked- around 20 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure they don't stick and add more water if needs be. Once cooked, leave to drain.

  4. In a large frying pan, or saute pan, fry the pancetta until crispy then remove from the pan.

  5.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and when it is warm add the pigeon fillets. Season and cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. It should still be a little pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm. 

  6. Turn the heat to low, add the lentils, potatoes, beetroot, pancetta and shallot to  the pan. Drizzle generously with a mustard dressing and toss to mix everything. 

  7. To serve, slice the meat and serve atop of the lentil salad. Drizzle with more mustard dressing. 

Recipe Notes

I used a mustard salad dressing recipe from Genius Kitchen - search online to find it. A shop bought dressing is fine too - simply use your favourite one. 

The following day I roasted seasonal roots to serve alongside the meat: sweet parsnips and shallots, carrots and waxy new potatoes. The green drizzle on top is some parsley and garlic butter which I had intended just for the veggies but it worked out really well on the pigeon too.

Pigeon breast on plate / How to cook pigeon / SHE-EATSWe will definitely be eating pigeon at home again in the future and I would say it’s so easy to cook well that you shouldn’t be scared to give it a go.

If you like the idea of this, you can also find some great pigeon recipe suggestions over on GB Chefs and River Cottage. You might also be interested in game sausages in your next risotto!

SHE LOVES: getting out of my kitchen comfort zone and winning!

*PR sample

Pigeon pin

Posted by Claire

She eats. She drinks. She cooks. She travels. She learns. She tastes. She bakes. A foodie with exceptional taste! Always looking for the best food and drink producers from far and wide. Chocolate brownie queen. Judge: International Cheese Awards. Cheese fiend! Travel lover. What better way to discover new food, than to travel to it. Massive fan of The Archers. Crazy cat lady and proud. NW England / Manchester / UK Twitter & Insta: She_Eats_Blog Facebook: SheEatsBlog

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