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Award-winning chef-patron Pascal Canevet shares how he’s inspired by nature’s palette and the earthy hues of winter




I love the winter season, its heather-coloured skies and sharp bite. Winter lockdown can be a challenge for any cook but a heart-warming dish can lighten these long, dull days. So why not try something new and celebrate seasonal flavours.

For me, game is very much a signature of the season. The satisfying, nutty flavour of wood pigeon is perfect served with a favourite comfort food of mine: mashed potato. Winter cooking is all about layers of flavours; building intense notes and delicious combinations to create warming dishes that evoke the season.

We enjoy a wealth of excellent food producers in East Anglia with our renowned coastline, marshland, fertile farmland, and woodlands. Many local producers are offering click and collect during lockdown; do take time to find local farmers’ markets and suppliers. Creating our winter menu at Maison Bleue is one of the highlights of the year, using exceptional locally-sourced produce from suppliers that over the years have become our good friends.

Roast Wood Pigeon, Honey-Roasted Beetroot & Bordelaise Sauce (43259638)
Roast Wood Pigeon, Honey-Roasted Beetroot & Bordelaise Sauce (43259638)

This recipe is a rich, succulent, mouth-watering dish with earthy notes of roasted winter beetroot, wild mushrooms, and a delicious Bordelaise sauce.

ROAST WOOD PIGEON, HONEY-ROASTED BEETROOT & BORDELAISE SAUCE

Roast wood pigeon served alongside wild girolles mushrooms, honey-roasted beetroot and a classic Bordelaise sauce; makes a rich and succulent dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 wood pigeon breasts (skin off)

40g salted butter

60g girolles mushrooms

4 cooked baby beetroot

20g honey

1 teaspoon of water

Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Bordelaise sauce:

40g bone marrow

3 shallots, finely chopped

30cl red wine from Bordeaux

Thyme and bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

25cl veal stock

Method:

Poach the bone marrow in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes, then place it in chilled water to cool down. Reserve.

In a small saucepan, add the red wine, shallots, thyme and bay leaf over medium heat. Cook, stirring until all liquid evaporates. Add the veal stock to the pan, season to taste and continue cooking.

Stir constantly until liquid is reduced by half. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Add the chopped bone marrow to the sauce. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Combine the honey and water in a small, very clean saucepan over medium temperature. Add the beetroot. Stir well, then cover and cook gently for 10 minutes until the beetroots are wonderfully sticky and glazed.

Add 30g of butter to a frying pan and allow to get hot. Season the pigeon and place in pan, breast down. Pan-fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked medium rare, then remove from the heat and leave to rest in a warm place for at least five minutes.

Meanwhile, pan-fry the girolles mushrooms with the rest of the butter for a few minutes until cooked.

To serve:

Arrange the pigeon breasts evenly on four serving plates. Add the girolles, glazed beetroots and finish with the Bordelaise sauce. Enjoy!

AND TO DRINK

We recommend a bottle of Chateau Massereau, Bordeaux Superieur, Cuvee K 2008

A beautifully balanced 12-year-old masterpiece. Deep ruby, raspberry and cherry on the nose and powerful on the palate with silky bold tannins. Bottle ageing brings cassis, liquorice, pepper and leather.

Available from local wine merchant: smashingwines.co.uk

Pascal Canevet is chef-patron of award-winning Maison Bleue, an intimate fine-dining restaurant serving a modern French menu

Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

See maisonbleue.co.uk

Call 01284 760623

Pascal also offers LÉA a bistro ‘food to go’ via click and collect, see website for details