Wood pigeon and black pudding salad
This is incredibly easy to make but tastes great and looks like it came straight out of a top restaurant. This is a real autumn dish because September and October are the best months for wood pigeons. The black pudding is actually optional but works really well, another option is to chuck a few croûtons into the salad.
It uses wood pigeons which you can buy from some supermarkets (Waitrose), butchers and game dealers. They cost a few pounds each and 2 will serve 4 as a starter.
Nearly all the meat on a pigeon is on the breasts. Most pigeons are sold as whole birds, dont let this put you of. It wont take long to remove the breasts and you can use the carcass to make an excellent stock.
To remove the breasts you take a very sharp knife and cut along the top of the breastbone. You then pull the skin away and slice the breast away. Keep the knife close to the bone and work in small cuts. The finished item does not need to look perfect - it is cooked whole and then sliced.
100 g black pudding thickly sliced
100 g smoked bacon, cut into lardons
100 g bag of salad (ideally lambs lettuce or any other green salad)
2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or sherry/wine vinegar)
Salt and black pepper
Wash the salad and put into a large bowl
Heat a frying pan with a swirl of olive oil, add the bacon and once the bacon fat has began to run add the pigeon breasts
Meanwhile fry the black pudding slices in a second frying pan
Cook both pans over a medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes each side (you do not want to over cook the pigeon as it will dry out. As with most game pigeon is good pink)
Remove the pigeon, bacon and black pudding (keep the pigeon pan)
Slice each breast into 4 or 5 pieces and crumble the black pudding
Add the meats to the salad and stir gently
Add the vinegar and olive oil to the warm pigeon pan and deglaze, pour this dressing over the salad, stir gently and serve, if using add croûtons
Serve with bread to mop up the juices
A few slices of black pudding