Smoked pastrami of pigeon

Michael Wignall offers a deliciously different way to cook woodpigeon, with stilton mousse, black pudding crumble and black pudding pureé.

Pigeon pastrami

1l water

106g brown sugar

72g sea salt 

7g white peppercorns

3 bay leaves

6 cloves

4 cloves of garlic

2 juniper berries


Bring all of the above to the boil, and then add 6.8g of pink salt when cool. Brine the pigeon breasts for 12 hours, then remove and allow to dry in the fridge for a further 12 hours.

Lightly smoke the breasts over hay. An old metal biscuit tin will be perfect for this; place the hay in the bottom, and light. Place the breasts onto a cooling rack over the top and carefully place over the smoking hay. Place the lid top on and leave for 6 minutes.

Lightly pan fry the breasts skin-side down until golden. Turn over and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes. The breasts should be served medium-rare as the brine will affect the cooking process, therefore care must be taken. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Black pudding crumble

Half a stick boudin noir (we use French boudin noir due to its finer, softer texture, but a good quality black pudding can be used)

1 slice brioche (crusts removed and cut into 1cm squares)

5g unsalted butter 


In a non-stick pan, fry the black pudding for 2 minutes. Add the butter, toast the brioche until golden, place onto a tray and allow to dry. Blend to a fine crumb.

Stilton Mousse

205g stilton (crumbled quite finely)

205g whipping cream

80g unsalted butter (diced)


Bring the cream to the boil and blend in the stilton. Slowly add the diced butter and blend until smooth. Allow 3 hours to set.

Black Pudding Pureé

50g ruby port

50g rich red wine (full body)

50g cabernet sauvignon vinegar 

27g Jerez vinegar

100g reduced chicken stock

1 diced black pudding


Combine all of the ingredients except the black pudding and reduce until it starts to thicken. Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to drizzle over your pigeon to serve. Add the black pudding to the remaining liquor and stir. thoroughly until combined. Blend to a silky, smooth paste and keep warm until you are ready to plate-up.


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