How to: Cook a Pigeon

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Here’s a question no one’s asked you in a really long time: “How would you like pigeon for dinner?”

It’s been a long time for the pigeon to make it back to common dinner table use, but while we’d mostly associate pigeon with the strange, puffy individuals you see strutting around Federation Square or Martin Place, it’s actually a delicious bird to put to use.

As you’d imagine, there isn’t a great deal of meat to be found on a pigeon, and they’re not a fatty bird. For the average eater, it would take two or three of them to provide you with enough meat to satisfy your appetite.

The Turkish, English and Italians all have a long history of cuisine involving the pigeon, which is by most accounts an easy bird for the hungry chef to get their hands on, because they are readily domesticated.

The birds are easy to prepare; caught wild, they can be plucked in a few seconds if you know how to pluck any other feathered friend. 

The Turkish way of cooking involves filling the cavity of the bird with a rich mixture of dried fruit, couscous and rice, which tastes absolutely heavenly.

In Australia, native birds are protected but pigeons are not. You can buy them at a good organic market, where they’ve been bred for the pot. 

Buy three or four if you’re feeding two adults, and don’t be afraid to use plenty of butter. They’re virtually fat-free birds and butter only makes their soft flesh delightful.

Excite your tastebuds and expel the mental image of a scavenger bird cooing around your ankles. They really are something to eat.