By Roger Hickman
Serves 4, as a starter
A packet of puff pastry, rolled out to just under 1cm thickness
1 egg yolk
A splash of Madeira
400g of blackberries
Caster sugar to taste
2 golden beetroot
2 purple beetroot
A handful of Iranian pistachios
Take the breasts off the pigeons, and pan fry them for about 2 minutes per side – you want them to still be pink in the middle.
Confit the pigeon legs by cooking them gently in a pan with enough rapeseed oil to cover them, for two to three hours. Allow to cool, then take off the meat and shred it. Gently cook the shallots in a pan with the Madeira, and, when the liquid has reduced by half, put in the shredded confit pigeon leg meat, and season.
Cut out 4 pastry disks, put on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, and make a small indentation in the middle of each. Brush with egg yolk, and cook in the oven at 180°C until golden, which should take 10-15 minutes. Divide the hot pigeon leg confit mixture between the four pies, filling the central indentation.
Take 250g of the blackberries, and put in a pan with sugar to taste (this will depend on how sharp they are) and a cup of water. Heat the blackberries until they are warm (don’t boil them), and then blitz the mixture in a food processor, and pass through a fine sieve to give you a smooth puree. Chill in the fridge.
Take all 4 beetroots and put them (skin still on) in a pan and cover with water. Simmer until a knife easily goes through them – this will take between 50 and 80 minutes, depending on their size. Cool and peel. Slice the golden beets into disks, and chop the purple beets into small cubes.
Toast the pistachios and then blitz them into a fine crumb.
To assemble the dish, slice each pigeon breasts lengthways, and serve one on each plate, along with one of the pigeon pies. Garnish with golden beetroot disks and purple beetroot cubes, and blobs of the blackberry purée, which in its chilled state should be more like a runny jelly.
Use the remaining blackberries to decorate the plates, and sprinkle over the pistachio crumb.