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Smoky pigeon breast salad with pickled beetrootJose Souto’s ‘Feathers – The Game Larder’

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 mins (+ 2-8hrs marinating)

Cooking time: 5 mins


6–8 fresh pigeon breasts (depending on size)

4 tbsp peaty, smoky whisky (Laphroaig, Lagavulin or Talisker,

otherwise a blend like Famous Grouse or Bell’s will suffice)

1–2 Lapsang Souchong teabags (or 3 tsp loose tea)

rapeseed oil, or vegetable oil

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp vinegar (balsamic, wine or cider)

340g jar of pickled beetroot

small bag of mixed salad leaves: rocket, watercress, spinach

50g of walnut pieces, pre-roasted in a hot oven for a few mins

salt & pepper 


Rinse the pigeon breasts under running water and pat dry with kitchen roll.

Marinate the breasts in the whisky in a shallow glass or porcelain bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours but up to 8.

Tear open the teabags and empty the tea onto a plate.

Remove the breasts from the whisky marinade and turn the breasts in the tea leaves to lightly coat each breast; put to one side.

Lightly pan fry the pigeon breasts in rapeseed oil, allowing no more than a minute or 2 on each side, keeping the breasts nice and pink.

Remove the breasts from the frying pan and allow to rest while you dress your plates.

Make a light vinaigrette using olive oil and vinegar, or a little of the pickled beetroot juice instead of vinegar.

Toss the salad leaves with the vinaigrette.

Arrange the leaves among 4 plates with the beetroot cut into slices. Slice the pigeon and place on top of the leaves then garnish with the walnuts and season with salt & pepper to finish.

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