Woodpigeon and red wine poached cherries

Summer’s game gets a lift with seasonal sweet cherries. Throwing cherries into the pan after woodpigeon breasts have been flash-fried allows them to take on the game’s juices, giving intense flavour to the fruit and a flavour lift to the game when they are served together.


Servings: 4 (or 8 as a starter)


250g cherries

8 pigeon breasts

2 tbsp olive oil

2 bay leaves

5 sprigs of thyme

175ml red wine

11/2tsp caster sugar


1 tsp red wine vinegar


Pit the cherries over a bowl so as to catch their juices. 


Season the pigeon breasts. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the pigeon along with the bay leaves and thyme. Give the breasts 2 to 21/2mins each side, then remove to a warm place to rest. Leave the herbs behind in the pan.


Add to the frying pan the cherries and wine. Scrape at the bottom of the pan to lift off any of the flavours left behind from the pigeon cooking. Add the sugar, seasoning, and a squeeze of lemon; and cook for 5 mins over a high heat to reduce the wine and soften the cherries. Finish with the vinegar and then serve the pigeon breasts with the cherries and the sauce spooned over. 

(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)

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