Pigeon dish

Pigeon with blackberries and chanterelles – taken from the River Cottage Game handbook, published by Bloomsbury

The benefit of eating pigeon is that there is no close season; the bird is available all year round.

Many people enjoy pigeon recipes in July, August and September, not just because it’s a summer taste of game but also because the pigeon’s rich summer diet of berries, corn and seeds makes the meat tastier, giving it a delectably nutty flavour.

Pigeon recipes are also popular because they’re a great source of protein and the meat boasts plenty of minerals such as iron.

Older pigeons can be tougher so it’s probably not worth plucking the whole bird. Instead remove and eat only the breasts. They’re delicious with blackberries and chanterelle mushrooms. Pigeon breasts work brilliantly on the barbecue and on a hot smoker.

Younger birds are worth plucking because you can roast them whole.

Tim Maddams, author of the River Cottage Game cookery book advises: “I could go on for hours about the meat of these fascinating birds, but the one thing you really need to know is this: either cook them medium-rare or long and slow.”

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