Pigeon breast with cherry-berry sauce, poppy seed crumble and sweet potato croquettes

In Winchester, UK we have every fortnight Sunday an excellent Farmers’ Market with local producers. Few weeks before I’ve spotted a decent game meat seller, which came handy when I’ve read this recipe. I’ve made it with croquettes instead of mash, and also left out the Thai basil.  Even so, with my friend we have managed to ate up all the  2 pair of breasts in one go with the croquettes.Pigeon Breast with CherryBerry sauce, poppy seed crumble and sweet potato croquettes



Poppy Seed Crumble

50g Plain Flour

25g Butter (at room temperature)

25g Grounded Poppy Seeds

1/2tsp Salt, Sugar and Water

 Sweet Potato Croquettes

1 Sweet Potato (~275g)

150g Plain Flour

1 Sprig of Lemon grass

5g Fresh Ginger (Finely Greated)

1tsp Salt

Pigeon Breast

2 Pigeon Breast

2tbps Groundnut Oil

Salt, Pepper

Cherry-Berry Sauce

50ml Sweet Vermouth

1tbps Brown Sugar

Few Sprig of Fresh Thyme



First we start to make the croquettes as it needs to cool down before mixing with the flour.

Peel and great roughly the sweet potato. Salt it and leave it for a few minutes to release some water. This way will cook in its own juice and soften quicker.

Until then, we start on the poppy seed crumble. Mix the flour and butter in a bowl. Add the grounded poppy seeds with salt and sugar, and mix with the water to form a pasta like dough. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

When the sweet potato released some water, add a few more splash to it. It doesn’t have to cover it, just needs to sit in. Add the grated ginger and the sprig of lemon grass. Cover the pan, and gently bring it to simmer until it’s becomes soft. It takes about 15 minutes. Take out the lemon grass (and just eat it! no waste). Drain the water, and mash the potato. Leave it to cool down.

Roll out the poppy seed dough between two parchment paper to 2mm thick, and place into the hot oven until it’s bakes through evenly (~20-30 minutes). It should have a crunchy texture.

Put the beaten egg(s) into a bowl and the breadcrumbs into another.

Heat up enough oil in a deep fryer or in a deep pan to fry the croquettes in. If you don’t have a deep fryer just turn the rolls around as they’re browning, so you won’t need to use so much oil. Also don’t heat up the oil too hot, otherwise it will burn quickly.

Mix the mash potato with the flour. It will form a slightly sticky dough. With wet hands or 2 spoons shape the croquettes into rolls. Coat the rolls first with the eggs, and after cover them everywhere with the breadcrumbs. Fry them evenly, and soak up the excess oil with a kitchen towel. Keep them in warm.

As the pigeon breast doesn’t need too much cooking, I’ve left it last thing to do. Also it’s not really nice re-heated.

Pre-heat the oven to 80°C with a plate.

In a frying pan or sauté pan, heat up the groundnut oil. Place the breasts skin down, season it with salt and pepper and cook them until the skin gets dark brown. Expect some oil splashing around, so if you have a lid use it!

Turn to the other side and cook it for another couple of minutes. Put in the oven on to the heated plate and leave there to rest for another 10 minutes. It won’t get dry as it has still plenty of juice locked inside. Don’t skip this step.

In the same oil caramelise the brown sugar and pour over the vermouth. Add the cherry-berries and few fresh sprigs of thyme, and season it. Cook it until it’s reduced the liquid.

Plate the breasts cut up with the sauce on the top, accompanied by the sweet potato croquettes and poppy seed crumble.






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