Smoked pastrami of pigeon
Michael Wignall offers a deliciously different way to cook woodpigeon, with stilton mousse, black pudding crumble and black pudding pureé.
106g brown sugar
72g sea salt
7g white peppercorns
3 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic
2 juniper berries
Bring all of the above to the boil, and then add 6.8g of pink salt when cool. Brine the pigeon breasts for 12 hours, then remove and allow to dry in the fridge for a further 12 hours.
Lightly smoke the breasts over hay. An old metal biscuit tin will be perfect for this; place the hay in the bottom, and light. Place the breasts onto a cooling rack over the top and carefully place over the smoking hay. Place the lid top on and leave for 6 minutes.
Lightly pan fry the breasts skin-side down until golden. Turn over and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes. The breasts should be served medium-rare as the brine will affect the cooking process, therefore care must be taken. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Black pudding crumble
Half a stick boudin noir (we use French boudin noir due to its finer, softer texture, but a good quality black pudding can be used)
1 slice brioche (crusts removed and cut into 1cm squares)
5g unsalted butter
In a non-stick pan, fry the black pudding for 2 minutes. Add the butter, toast the brioche until golden, place onto a tray and allow to dry. Blend to a fine crumb.
205g stilton (crumbled quite finely)
205g whipping cream
80g unsalted butter (diced)
Bring the cream to the boil and blend in the stilton. Slowly add the diced butter and blend until smooth. Allow 3 hours to set.
Black Pudding Pureé
50g ruby port
50g rich red wine (full body)
50g cabernet sauvignon vinegar
27g Jerez vinegar
100g reduced chicken stock
1 diced black pudding
Combine all of the ingredients except the black pudding and reduce until it starts to thicken. Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to drizzle over your pigeon to serve. Add the black pudding to the remaining liquor and stir. thoroughly until combined. Blend to a silky, smooth paste and keep warm until you are ready to plate-up.