Pot au feu of pigeon


  • 2 to 4 pigeons, plucked and dressed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 to 6 Jerusalem artichokes, cut into chunks
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 to 4 salsify roots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch lengths (optional)
  • 1 or 2 roots of Hamburg or root parsley, cut into chunks (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Beer vinegar or malt vinegar, for garnish


    step 1

    Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put all the chunked-up vegetables in a small roasting pan and coat with about half of the melted butter. Salt them well and pop them in the oven to roast. Take the pigeons out of the fridge when the veggies go into the oven. Let the pigeons come to room temperature for 30 minutes.

    step 2

    Stir the root vegetables, which should be starting to get brown. Paint the pigeons with more melted butter and salt them well. Pour the remaining melted butter into a small pan and get it hot. Sear the sides of the pigeons in the hot butter. You want to get the legs and wings halfway cooked before the birds go into the oven. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes. Don't sear the breast meat.

    step 3

    Check the vegetables. They should be pretty close to being done. If they are, remove them from the oven, put in a bowl and cover with foil. Turn the oven up to 475°F, or even 500°F if it will go that high. Wipe out the roasting pan. Let the pigeons rest for the 10 minutes or so this will take. When the oven is ready, put the pigeons into the roasting pan, breast side up. Roast for 10 minutes.

    step 4

    Remove the pigeons from the oven and set on a cutting board. Turn off the oven, pour the vegetables back into the roasting pan, toss with the chopped parsley and set into the oven to re-warm and cook a bit further. Let the pigeons rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve them surrounded by the vegetables, which you can season with a little vinegar if you want.