Sunday, 18, October 2015

Filed under:
Bristol Harbourside

Written by
Nicola Brady

Recipe: Pigeon Breast with a warm Waldorf salad

An autumnal recipe from the head chef at The Bristol.

Pigeon Breast with a warm Waldorf Salad from The Bristol hotel


We waxed lyrical about the glory of game season recently on the blog, and now we have a recipe for a gorgeous autumnal dish. Matt Lord, head chef at The Bristol hotel, is extremely passionate about using local, seasonal ingredients, and has come up trumps with a menu for the new season that celebrates everything the region has to offer.

This dish is perfect for a small dinner party, served with a spicy, warming red wine and perhaps a side of celeriac and potato gratin. Matt sources his pigeon from Ruby and White in Bristol – if you’re not based in the area then find a good local butcher and ask if they can get hold of some for you. This recipe serves four. 


For the pigeon breast…

4 wood pigeon breasts

2 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs rosemary

5 cloves garlic

200ml extra virgin olive oil 

For the salad…

1 head celery

2 red apples

20g celery leaves

150g walnuts

1 egg white

5g salt

5g sugar 

For the port reduction…

100ml port 

To serve… 

Walnut oil

20g watercress



Start with the pigeon. Marinate the pigeon breasts in the olive oil, combined with the herbs and garlic.

Make the salad by peeling and cutting the celery into 8cm batons, keeping the natural shape of the stalks. Whip the egg whites and place in a tray with the walnuts, salt and sugar, then bake at 140˚c for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Make the port reduction by reducing the port down until it begins to thicken to a syrup, over a medium to high heat (being careful the reduction doesn’t burn). The natural sugars will create a sticky, glossy syrup.  

Pan-fry the pigeon breast over a medium heat, in oil and butter, for 2-3 minutes. Pigeon is best served pink, so remove it from the pan and then rest for 5 minutes. While the pigeon is resting, wipe out the pan and add more butter. Toss the celery in the pan until it begins to soften, then add slices of red apple and the walnuts, and cook for a few minutes.

Arrange the apple and walnuts in the bottom of a warmed large bowl or plate, slice the pigeon in half and then drizzle with walnut oil and port reduction, and garnish the plate with watercress.  

If you have a go at making this recipe, do show us the results on social media, tagging @BristolDoyle on Twitter and The Bristol Hotel on Facebook.

You can find Matt’s summer gnocchi recipe here, and read about his knack for foraging here

The River Grille Restaurant in The Bristol