This is a way of serving up pigeon kebab style. Apart from being wonderfully alliterative, it’s very tasty. Incidentally, if you take the breasts off pigeons you have shot yourself, or bought whole, never throw away the carcasses. Roasted, they make excellent stock.


  • 8 wood pigeon breasts

  • a little oil


  • ½ glass of red wine

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • generous sprigs of thyme

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 bay leaves, crushed

  • 10 juniper berries, crushed

  • a few twists of fresh black pepper


  • 4 large pitta breads

  • about 50g Cos or Little Gem lettuce, shredded

  • ½ medium onion, finely sliced

  • Split Pea and Green Peppercorn Purée

  • spicy fruit chutney, sieved to make a sauce


  • 1.

    Slice each pigeon breast into 3 or 4 pieces and place in a non-metallic bowl. Add all the ingredients for the marinade, and mix well. Cover with a plate and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  • 2.

    Remove the meat from the marinade and wipe off any bits of herb sticking to it. Put the pittas into a toaster, or on a dry griddle, just before you start to cook the pigeon.

  • 3.

    Heat a griddle or a heavy frying pan without any oil, then add a small drizzle of oil to the surface. Throw on all the sliced pigeon breasts and flash-fry, turning occasionally with a spatula, for just 3–4 minutes.

  • 4.

    Remove them from the heat while you prepare the pittas.

  • 5.

    Split the toasted pittas open with a knife and gently push apart the sides to open them up like a pocket. Put some lettuce and onion in the bottom of each, then pile in the hot pigeon pieces. Top it off with a generous smothering of pease pudding and sieved fruit chutney.


This recipe is from 'The River Cottage Cookbook' special edition. Published by Harper Collins. RRP$59.99.

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