Prep time:

Cooking time: 26 minutes

Total time:

Serves: 8

8 pigeon breasts

1tbsp olive oil

200g watercress, washed

4 oranges

100g walnut halves, toasted

salt & pepper

Orange & redcurrant dressing

200ml orange juice

2tbsp redcurrant jelly

3tbsp balsamic vinegar

150ml walnut oil

2tsp Dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

Juliet Bidwell has created this dish inspired by olde English ingredients. Pigeon is making a come back and here takes centre stage in this healthy salad.

Pigeon have been eaten in England for centuries. Dovecotes were popular on estates as a living pantry and a source of meat for unexpected guests. Watercress has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries to treat blood disorders and as a remedy for scurvy from as early as 1636. Oranges arrived in England in 1289 and from the 17th century they were cultivated in England.

  1. For the salad, prepare the oranges by using a serrated knife. Carefully remove the peel and the outer white pith, and cut the segments out.
  2. Season the pigeon breasts with salt & pepper.  Pan-fry the breasts in olive oil over a high heat, turning after a couple of minutes, and when cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  3. To serve, assemble the watercress and orange, and place the pigeon on the salad and spoon over the dressing and scatter the walnuts.
  4. For the orange & redcurrant dressing: To make the dressing, reduce the orange juice in a saucepan to 100ml. When reduced, add the redcurrant jelly, stir till melted then remove from the heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and leave to cool. Whisk the walnut oil into the mustard till combined. Slowly whisk the orange mixture into the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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