Crown of Pigeon Breast Tartlet

Peter Clarke, Cafe 1885 Snape Maltings

Crown of Pigeon Breast with Lentils and Thyme CAFE 1885.jpg

Ingredients (per tartlet)

1 crown of pigeon breasts
3 sprigs of thyme
Half a small onion
2 parsnips
100g of Puy lentils
Quarter pint of vegetable stock
Half a clove of garlic
1 red onion
150g of shortcrust pastry
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of Demerara sugar


1.    Roll out the shortcrust pastry into a three inch pastry tartlet tin and bake blind at 195°C for 10 minutes.  Leave to cool on the side.

2.    Peel the parsnips and cut into rough cubes, place into a saucepan of cold water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil and simmer until soft then drain in a colander.  Blitz in a food mixer to a purée then season well and leave in a warm place.

3.    Dice half a small onion, place into a saucepan, sweat down with half a clove of crushed garlic until soft.  Add the Puy lentils, sweat for a further one minute, add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes until al dente then leave in a warm place.

4.    Slice the red onion, add to a saucepan, sweat down with no colour, add the thyme, Demerara sugar and balsamic vinegar, turn up the heat and reduce until nearly all the liquid is reduced.  Set aside.

5.    Place the pigeon crown on a chopping board.  Season well, heat a frying pan with a little olive oil until hot.  Add the pigeon skin side down for one to two minutes just to colour then turn over for a further minute.  Place in the oven for 6-8 minutes.  Now add a knob of butter with the sprig of thyme and keep basting the pigeon breasts for half a minute then leave to rest for four minutes before taking the breasts off the bone.

6.    Now to assemble the dish.  Place your pastry case in the middle of the plate, add the hot parsnip purée which should come up to the inside of the pastry lid then add the Puy lentils onto the parsnip purée.  Arrange the two pigeon breasts on top of the lentils, add the balsamic red onions and serve.