Wood pigeons are a meaty bird with a distinctive gamey flavour and rich, deep-coloured meat. Waitrose wood pigeon is fully traceable to a small number of carefully selected shoots on country estates in southern England and the Midlands. Wood pigeon breast fillets are available from Waitrose. Seasonal availability: Wood pigeon is available from 1 September to 31 March.
Uses: Pan-fry breast fillets and serve with game chips (thinly sliced deep-fried potatoes) and roast parsnips or with garlic mash and stir-fried savoy cabbage. The breasts can be marinated for 24 hours before cooking, in red wine, olive oil, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, shallots and garlic, to ensure tenderness.
To store: Keep in the fridge in the original wrapping, below and away from cooked foods and any ready to eat food. Store until the use by date. To freeze, freeze on the day of purchase for up to 1 month. To defrost, remove from the original packaging and place on a plate or tray and cover. Defrost thoroughly in the bottom of the fridge, below and away from cooked foods and any ready to eat food, before cooking. Never re-freeze raw meat that has been frozen and then thawed. Wash work surfaces, chopping boards, utensils and hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.
To prepare: Remove all packaging. Marinate the breasts overnight if required or brush with a little oil or melted butter to ensure moist and succulent eating.
To cook: To pan-fry, melt 15g butter and 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, heat the pan until hot and then add the fillets. Cook for 30 seconds on each side over a high heat, then reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. Cook thoroughly until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Do not reheat once cooled. Cool any leftovers to room temperature, refrigerate within 2 hours and consume within 2 days.