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Pretty in pink

This week's recipe pairs the tastiest and meatiest pigeon with pickled vegetables for an enlivening starter.

Most of the meat comes from the woodpigeon's breast, which is best quickly pan-fried and served pink. Ask your butcher to take the breasts off the birds for you, keeping the carcasses to make a tasty stock.

ROASTED WOODPIGEON AND PICKLED VEGETABLE SALAD

Serves 4

PICKLED VEGETABLES

2 carrots

1 golden beetroot

1 purple beetroot

200g sugar

400ml water

250ml white wine vinegar

1tsp coriander seeds

ROASTED WOODPIGEON

4 woodpigeon breasts

2tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

100g fresh salad leaves

First, wash and peel the carrots and beetroot then cut them into slices about 2cm thick.

Bring the sugar, water, white wine vinegar and coriander seeds to the boil before dividing the liquid between two pans. In one pan, cook the carrots for about 15 minutes on a gentle simmer until they're done but retain a slight crunch. Cook the beetroot in the other pan for about 30 minutes. Remove the pans from the heat and allow the liquid to cool slightly.

Heat a medium-sized saute pan and season the breasts well. Add the oil to the pan and place the breasts in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes then turn, cooking for a further 2-3 minutes before removing the breasts to a warm plate. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest.

To serve, drain the vegetables from the cooking liquor and arrange them on each plate. Place a small dressed salad on top, then slice the breasts in half and place them on the vegetables.

WINE MATCH

2007 Cadus Malbec, Nieto Senetiner, £16.57, WoodWinters

Rich and concentrated with a powerful nose, this wine is chock full of dark fruits, vanilla and spices.

The Honours, 58a North Castle Street, Edinburgh. Visit www.thehonours.co.uk or call 0131 220 2513.

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