Pan-fried Wood Pigeon with Carrot Purée, Butternut Squash, mushrooms, Redcurrant Syrup and a Red Wine Reduction with Redcurrants.

Niamh's main course recipe from the two course challenge


  • 2 crowns of wood pigeon
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • redcurrant syrup:
  • 150 g redcurrants, picked off stems
  • 50 ml water
  • juice of 1 orange
  • generous splash of cointreau
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar
  • salt and pepper to season
  • carrot purée:
  • 6 large carrots
  • peel of the orange (that you used for the redcurrant syrup)
  • sprig of thyme
  • 250 ml double cream
  • butternut squash:
  • 1 butternut squash, skin and seeds removed and cut into 1” chunks
  • butter
  • oil
  • thyme
  • mushrooms:
  • 200 g mixed mushrooms including oyster mushrooms, girolles and morels
  • a little oil
  • 25 g butter


  1. To make the redcurrant syrup, put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat slightly, but allow the mixture continue to bubble at a brisk pace. Do not cover the saucepan. Continue cooking for approximately 12-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile make the carrot purée…
  3. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover the carrots and add the orange rind and a sprig of thyme. Bring to the boil and continue cooking for approximately 15 minutes until the carrots are soft.
  4. Drain the carrots and remove the orange rind and thyme. Place the carrots in a blender with the cream and purée until smooth. Pass the purée through a chinoise into a small saucepan until you are ready to gently re-heat just prior to plating up.
  5. Next prepare the butternut squash chunks…
  6. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Remove the rind from the butternut squash with a sharp knife and cut into chunks about 2cms square. Place in a roasting tin with a drizzle of oil , a generous knob of butter and a sprig of thyme.
  7. Roast in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, turning the squash once or twice during the cooking time. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
  8. Whilst the squash is roasting prepare the wood pigeon… Place the chicken stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer. Place the wood pigeon crown in the simmering stock for 4 minutes, and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a warm dish, cover with tin foil and keep warm. Meanwhile. heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and add a knob of butter. Uncover the wood pigeon crown and carefully remove the breasts from the carcass and set aside momentarily.
  9. When the fat is hot, season the pigeon breast and place (skin-side down) in the fat. Cook for about a minute and a half by which time the skin should be nicely coloured. Turn over the pigeon breasts and cook on the other side for about a minute. Remove the cooked pigeon to a warm dish, cover and allow rest for about five minutes.
  10. To finish the dish….
  11. Heat up a little vegetable oil in a small frying until very hot and quickly fry the prepared mushrooms until beginning to colour. Meanwhile using a pastry brush, paint some brushstrokes of redcurrant syrup ion your serving plate. Re-heat the carrot purée and swipe some to the side of the plate. Slice a wood-pigeon breast into 3 or 4 slices and place in the centre of the plate. Place the roasted butternut squash chunks and mushrooms randomly around the pigeon. Serve

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