Pigeon with gingerbread

Pigeon with gingerbread

Pigeon au pain d’épices

Luke Nguyen's France
Alan Benson

This Eastern interpretation of a classic French recipe, duck à l’orange, uses pigeon as the star protein, and coriander seeds, star anise and lemongrass as spices in the glaze.


Quantity Ingredient
180g gingerbread
1 tablespoon sea salt
450g whole pigeon, cleaned
1 tablespoon olive oil
40g butter
8 spring onions, ends trimmed
12 dried goji berries, soaked for 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, (see glossary), to garnish

Orange glaze

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
60ml red wine vinegar
1 orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon wild madagascar peppercorns, dry-roasted and pounded, (see glossary), if unavailable, use sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry-roasted and pounded
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemongrass stem


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Crumble 100 g of the gingerbread onto a baking tray and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until crispy and coloured. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. To make the orange glaze, place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the honey and vinegar and bring to the boil. Stir in the orange juice, orange zest, spices and lemongrass. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the salt and blanch the pigeon for 2 minutes. Remove the pigeon to a plate and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
  4. Place the remaining 80 g gingerbread and 1 tablespoon water in a mixing bowl and mix together using your hands. Stuff the mixture into the pigeon cavity.
  5. Heat an ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and half the butter. Cook the pigeon for 2 minutes on each side, basting with the melted butter mixture, until the skin is browned.
  6. Drain the oil and butter from the pan. Brush the orange glaze all over the pigeon. Add 125 ml water to the pan, then transfer to the oven and bake for 35–40 minutes.
  7. While the bird is in the oven, place the remaining butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in 125 ml water and bring to a simmer. Cook the spring onions for 2 minutes, or until wilted.
  8. Assemble the spring onion on a serving platter, then place the pigeon on top. Use the star anise, cinnamon and lemongrass from the glaze to garnish the bird, then drizzle the glaze over the pigeon and around the platter. Crumble the baked gingerbread around the plate, garnish with the goji berries and serve.
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