W A R M  W O O D  P I G E O N 

A N D

B L A C K  P U D D I N G  S A L A D  

W I T H  M I G A S

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus minimum 6

hours marinating

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Season: Wood pigeons available year-round

2 garlic cloves

4 wood pigeon breasts

2 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp runny honey

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

200g day-old bread, sourdough preferably 

90 ml milk

1 tblsp olive oil

100 g black pudding

2 bunches watercress

1 tblsp pomegranate molasses

1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

50 g walnuts

Begin by making the marinade.  Peel and crush the garlic and work into a paste with a bit of salt in a mortar.  Place the garlic paste into a bowl large enough to accommodate all four of the wood pigeon breasts comfortably.  Pour over the olive oil, honey, allspice, and cinnamon.  Add the breasts and season with pepper and toss to coat.  Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas 6.

Remove the crusts from the bread and cut up into bite-sized chunks.  Place in a small bowl and pour over the milk.  Allow the bread to absorb all of the milk.  Don't worry if it hasn't coated all the pieces evenly.  The milk will moisten the inside of the bread so that it can retain a soft texture during cooking.  The end result will be like that of a roast potato.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium flame.  Slice the black pudding into 6 mm-10 mm slices and gently lower into the preheated frying pan.  Add the soaked bread cubes as well.  Gently turn the bread over in the olive oil and any fat which may have come from the black pudding.  Transfer the frying pan to the oven and continue cooking in the oven until the bread and the pudding crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  Once cooked, set aside in a warm place while you cook the wood pigeon.

The wood pigeon doesn't take long to cook, so ensure that you have your watercress washed and salad dressing ready.  Distribute the watercress evenly amongst four plates.  Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  

Remove the wood pigeon from the marinade.  Heat another frying pan over medium-high flame.  Gently lower the wood pigeon into the hot pan and cook for no more than 2 minutes a side.  Transfer from the pan to a warm plate and allow to rest for 4 minutes; cover with foil to retain the heat. 

Divide the warm black pudding and croutons amongst the plates.  Using a sharp knife cut each wood pigeon breast into 4 slices and fan out over the top of the salad.  Crush the walnuts and crumble over the top of each wood pigeon. Drizzle over the dressing and serve immediately.