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Pigeon Pie with Dried Porcini and Pigeon Gravy

  • Feeds 3 - 4 people
  • Prep time 02h 00
  • Cook time 00h 10

There’s a bit of work involved with this recipe but the results are totally worth it! The pies use the breasts of wood pigeon, while the gravy is made with the legs. It also gets an umami boost from one of our favourite secret ingredients: dried porcini mushrooms.

If you’d like to simplify the recipe there are a few easy ways to do so. Instead of buying whole birds and using the legs to make the gravy, you could use a ready-made version and then choose pigeon breasts to make the pies. Another option is to use ready-made puff pastry. A thermometer is also handy here, for checking the internal temperature of the pies and ensuring the pigeon is perfectly cooked.

Recipe by Helen Graves





  1. Remove the breasts from the pigeons by following the natural line of the bone. Remove the skin and discard. Refrigerate the breasts for later and reserve any hearts for the farce. Remove the legs and wings from the pigeons (no need to be too neat here) and add them to a saucepan with the stock, porcini and thyme. Bring to the boil then turn down to a very low simmer and reduce for 1 hour 45 minutes, skimming off any scum and fat occasionally.
  2. While the gravy is cooking, make the pastry. Put the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse to combine. Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat just until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the milk to the food processor and combine until you have a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour while you make the other elements.
  3. Once the gravy has cooked, strain and set aside. Add the red wine to a hot saucepan and let it bubble up until reduced by half. Add the strained stock and cook slowly, skimming if necessary, for 45 minutes.
  4. Make the pork farce by combining any chopped offal with the pork mince. Place in the freezer, covered, for 10 minutes. Place the bread in a small bowl and saturate with the cream.
  5. Place the meat into a food processor and add the garlic, spices and salt. Blend to a paste. Add the bread and cream and blend again until light and fluffy. Refrigerate.
  6. Once the gravy has been cooking for 45 minutes, add the sugar and season with salt. Mash the butter and plain flour together to make a paste and whisk it into the gravy until glossy and thick. Cover and set aside.
  7. Cook the cabbage leaves for 1 minute in boiling salted water. Drain and refresh under cold water. Once cool, pat dry.
  8. Heat the oil and sear the pigeon breasts for 30 seconds each side until browned. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  10. Once the pigeon has rested, sandwich together two of the breasts using some of the farce and spread some more on top. Wrap in a cabbage leaf and criss-cross with two slices of pancetta.
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out 4 x 12cm circles and place on a greased baking tray. Place the pigeon parcel in the centre. Re-roll pastry and cut out 4 more circles - around 15cm this time. Brush each pastry edge with beaten egg then top with circles and secure the edges, expelling any air. Crimp with a fork.
  12. Brush the pies with the egg and make a little hole in the top of each one. Paint each pie with egg yolk.
  13. Bake for 5 minutes, then open the oven and turn the pies to ensure even cooking. Cook for a further 7-10 minutes, or until a probe thermometer registers 50C. If the pies begin to look too dark reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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