Spatchcock Pigeon in Barolo

Theo Randall prepares a sumptuous meal of roast pigeon marinated in red wine, served with porcini mushrooms and swiss chard
By Theo Randall
Spatchcock Pigeon in Barolo
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the pigeon

  • 4 squab pigeons
  • 125 ml Barolo red wine
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 4 slices rustic white bread, cut diagonally for bruschetta

For the porcini

  • 50 g dried porcini, soaked in boiling water until soft
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

For the Swiss chard

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, blanched
  • olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped


1. For the pigeon: pre-heat oven to 200C/gas 6.

2. Using a sharp small knife, make an incision along the back of the pigeon. Push the knife under the skin and start working around the carcass from the leg ensuring not to rip the skin. Release and remove all the bones apart from the legs and wings.

3. When you have boned the pigeons, marinade them in the wine, garlic and thyme for 1 hour.

4. In a heavy-based frying pan (with heat-resistant handle) heat a little olive oil, add the pancetta and the pigeons. Seal the pigeons, cooking on both sides for 1 minute each.

5. Put the frying pan in the oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the pigeons on top of the bruschetta and return to the oven for a further 2-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 1 minute.

6. For the porcini: drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and roughly chop.

7. Heat a frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Fry the garlic and add the porcini. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then pour in the soaking liquid and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Finish with a splash of the pigeon marinade and reduce again.

8. For the Swiss chard: fry the blanched chard in olive oil with the garlic and chilli until tender.

9. To serve, cut the pigeon in half, separating the legs from the breast. Smear the cooked porcini mushrooms onto the bruschetta. Divide the chard between two plates, alongside a slice of bruschetta. Stack the pigeon pieces on top of the brischetta and drizzle the cooking juices around the plate.

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