By Mark Hix

Pigeons are very good value compared to a grouse, or use grouse if you have access to them or partridge or wild duck, up to you and this is a great way to get several servings out of them. The birds are at their best in autumn, after a summer of feeding on wild berries. If you’ve missed the elderberry season then you can use blueberries or even wild blaeberries or sea buckthorn. Once you've made this dish, you can make a nice broth with the bones.

Serves 4. 


  • Two oven-ready pigeons
  • 60-70g butter, softened
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A small handful of elderberries
  • A few handfuls of small flavoursome salad leaves and herbs
  • For the dressing
  • 1tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp Tewkesbury or Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil


1. Pre-heat the oven to 240°C/Gas mark 8, season the pigeon and rub the breasts with butter. Roast for about 12-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink, then leave to rest.

2. Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together and seasoning to taste. To serve, remove the breasts from the carcass and cut them into half a dozen slices and remove all of the leg meat and shred it. Arrange the leaves on four serving plates with the pigeon and blaeberries and spoon over the dressing.