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Wood pigeon breasts with apricot and feta

Cai ap Bryn lights the barbecue and serves a delicious lunch with apricots and feta cheese. Serves two.

wood pigeon recipe

Wood pigeon breasts with apricot and feta

A wood pigeon recipe bursting with flavour

I wanted to make use of the barbecue one last time this summer with something quick and easy for lunch. I had some deliciously ripe apricots, salty feta cheese and some fresh rocket from the garden. This wood pigeon recipe dish took no longer than 10 minutes to make, but it was a lovely light lunch bursting with flavour. The sweetness of the apricots marries well with the pigeon and the saltiness of the feta. I rubbed some balsamic vinegar into the pigeon with some seasoning about 15 minutes before searing as this brings out 
a sweet and rich flavour from the meat.

wood pigeon recipe

Wood pigeon breasts with apricot and feta


  • 6 pigeon breasts
  • 2 ripe apricots
  • 100g of feta, cubed
  • Handful of fresh leaves 
(such as rocket)
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper


1. Halve the apricots, remove the stones and cut into quarters. 
Season with a pinch of salt and 
pepper and place on the barbecue 
to caramelise for two minutes on 
each side. Remove from the grill 
and put to one side to cool.
2. Pat the pigeon breasts dry, and sear the breasts on the grill for one minute on each side. The meat should be dark and caramelised on the outside and perfectly pink in the middle. Then let the meat rest on the side for an additional minute.
3. Slice the breasts in half and place on a board along with the apricots and feta. I like to add a little extra black pepper over the pigeon breasts.
4. Dress the chosen greens around the board and tuck in. I enjoyed this wood pigeon recipe with a glass of fruity red wine. 
A perfect meal for hot, humid days 
— refreshing and full of flavour.

A note on wood pigeon

I like pigeon to rest in the chiller for a couple of days to firm up. I am not a fan of keeping them too long; I much prefer fresher-tasting meat, rather than it being gamey. People who enjoy a nice, firm steak cooked medium rare would almost certainly love pigeon.

To breast the pigeons I start by holding the bird on the back with the heads facing down. With my thumb and index finger, I pinch a load of feathers along the breasts and swiftly pull down. I would recommend doing it outside with a big receptacle lined with a bin bag. Pigeon feathers can get everywhere.

Once the pigeon breasts have been defeathered, run a thin, sharp knife along the breast bone all the way from the bottom of the bird to the wishbone and gently remove the breast from the cavity. 
I prefer to take the skin off the breast, as 
it can get a little rubbery and tough. Rinse 
off in some water, pat dry and store in 
the fridge for a few days or wrap tightly 
in cling film and freeze.