Cooking With Game

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    Spatchcock wood pigeon with bitterleaf, orange and walnut salad.

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    Spatchcock wood pigeon with bitterleaf, orange and walnut salad.

    Post  Admin on Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:29 am

    Serves 4

    100ml orange juice
    5 tbsp (75ml) olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    1 sprig of thyme
    A good pinch of ground cinnamon
    A good pinch of ground allspice
    4 wood pigeons, washed and dried, backbones removed and breasts flattened
    50g walnuts
    2 large oranges, peeled and segmented
    1 red onion, finely diced
    tbsp wine or cider vinegar
    2 heads of chicory, sliced in half lengthways and then sliced into lengths
    A small bunch of chives, chopped
    Salt and black pepper

    1 In a flat dish that will fit the birds snugly, mix the orange juice, 1 tbsp of oil, the garlic, thyme, spices and salt and pepper. Immerse the birds and marinate for at least an hour, turning occasionally.

    2 Set the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. While it heats up, toast the walnuts on an oven tray. When they have a little colour, tip them on to a chopping board, wipe the oven tray, and return it to the oven to get hot, ready for the pigeon.

    3 Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pigeons, skin-side down. The pigeons should be evenly flattened to create a flat piece made up of two breasts and two legs.

    4 Fry for 2 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Lift out of the pan and put on the hot oven tray, breast side up, to roast for 8 minutes.

    5 Add the marinade to the pan. Reduce until slightly thickened and set aside.

    6 For the salad, toss the oranges and onion in a bowl with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Roughly chop the walnuts, add the chicory, chives and remaining oil and mix. Season to taste.

    7 Remove the pigeons from the oven to a warm plate, pour over the marinade and set in a warm place for 5 minutes.

    8 Pile the salad on to the plates, cut the pigeons in half along the breastbone and arrange on top with a spoonful of sauce. Serve with good bread for the juices.

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