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Pigeon breasts with rock oysters

This recipe is a riff on the classic steak and oyster pie. Serves two.

Here’s a pigeon breasts recipe with a difference because it features oysters giving a new twist. If you’re not a fan of raw oysters then don’t worry – they are cooked lightly in garlic butter and breadcrumbs.  Or if you are partial to oysters in all their natural glory you can lightly warm them in the garlic butter instead

pigeon breasts recipe

Pigeon breasts with rock oysters


If you’re keen on classic steak and oyster pie the pigeon here plays the part of the steak, a role to which it is well suited, and the oysters play themselves. The whole show is adapted to be a freshly cooked dish rather than a stewed pie. It is brought together with the heavenly combination of caramelised onion purée and rich garlic butter, shot through with loads of fresh parsley.

Pigeon breasts recipe with rock oysters


  • 1 large onion (or 2 medium onions)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A sprig of thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A large sprig of parsley
  • 50g butter
  • 4 rock oysters
  • 4 pigeon breasts
  • Natural breadcrumbs



  1. The longest part of this recipe is making the onion purée. To do this well is the absolute key to success and it must not be rushed. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Fry them in a small saucepan with lots of olive oil, some salt, pepper and a little thyme. Allow them to take a fair amount of colour, then add a dash of water. Pop the lid on the pan, turn the heat way down and leave them to simmer away in their own juices until completely tender. This may take more than half an hour.
  2. Once the onion is soft and tender, remove the lid and reduce any liquid in the pan right down so the purée isn’t going to be watery. Transfer the onions to a blender and purée. Return to the pan and keep warm. Make the garlic butter by finely chopping the garlic and parsley before beating into about 40g of butter.
  3. Open and drain the oysters, season the pigeon breasts and place a frying pan on the stove to pan-roast the pigeon. Add a knob of butter and a dash of olive oil to the pan before adding the meat. Allow the pigeon breasts to seal and colour well on one side before flipping. Allow them to firm a little before removing them from the pan. Place on a plate to keep warm.
  4. Quickly pop the oysters into a little dust bath made of breadcrumbs. Add another knob of butter to the frying pan and fry the oysters carefully for a few minutes, turning them every now and again until they are golden and firm. Add the garlic butter to the pan and allow it to melt, but take the pan off the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn and the butter doesn’t split too much. Slice the pigeon breasts through on an angle twice and then reassemble them on a platter or plate so they don’t appear sliced. Smear over some onion purée, but save a little to dot around the plate along with the garlic butter at the end.
  5. Place an oyster on top of each pigeon breast. Spoon over a little garlic butter before garnishing with a pinch of chopped parsley. That’s it — serve the dish with whatever you fancy, but certainly a nice red wine of little depth but plenty of acidity to cut through all that richness.