I love wild Pigeon. It’s everywhere here in the Loire Valley and it’s free. I shot this one myself, a real treat for a chef. The cherries are from my garden also, a majestic old tree, picked last year and kept in brandy for a nice bite. The Loire Valley is filled with food gems, in this recipe I have tried to incorporate as many as possible, with some of my own favourite additions.


1 wild Pigeon
100g of brandy marinated wild cherries
1/4 cup of sherry vinegar
1/4 cup of soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Brandy
1 star anise
1 cup of finely chopped mire poix
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
20g butter
Bouquet garni
2 cups of Chinon red wine
1 cup of Pineau des Charente
A pinch of Chinese 5 spice


Firstly debone the Pigeon, then chop the bones up, and keep the meat aside. Gently fry the bones in a little oil. When they are browned add in the finely chopped mire poix (a mixture of carrot, leek, onion & celery) until starting to brown then add in the garlic. Cook a little without burning the garlic otherwise it will go bitter, then add the tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Then add in the red wine, the 5 spice & about a litre and a half of water and the bouquet garni.

Let this cook gently and reduce for about 25 minutes. Pass through a very fine strainer or muslin, add the Pineau des Charente, and reduce until a sauce consistency is reached, and the flavour has concentrated. Season with salt & pepper as required. Just before serving heat the sauce gently and whisk in the butter, do not boil after the butter has been added or it will split.

Take the fillet from the underneath of the Pigeon breast and pound/mince it with some salt & pepper. Debone the leg and stuff it with the minced fillet. You may need to secure it with a tooth pick to stop it opening when cooking.

Drain the cherries in a sieve or colander. Put the vinegar, sugar, brandy and star anise in a pot and reduce until it becomes syrupy. Add in the cherries and cook slowly until it becomes shiny and they are coated with the syrup.

For finishing, pan fry the Pigeon breast and legs until the legs are cooked through, and the breast is medium rare, salt & pepper to taste. Place the cherries in a ring to arrange nicely, then place the breast on top and a leg sliced around the plate. Spoon a little sauce around and finish with a little soft herb.



About Chef Peter

Dublin born chef Peter has recently moved to the Loire Valley where he is setting up a B&B and cookery school.  Peter’s philosophy is to cook fresh, local organic produce whenever possible and to strive always to learn and improve. He is looking forward to inspiring his students with his passion for food and good ingredients. Peter is available to hire for short term private chef jobs.

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