Pigeon with Gingerbread (Pigeon au Pain d'Epices)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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6 ounces pain d'epice (gingerbread)

1 tablespoon salt

1 whole pigeon (about 1 pound), cleaned


2 tablespoons orange blossom honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon wild Madagascar peppercorns, dry roasted and pounded

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry roasted and pounded

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

2 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 stalk lemongrass

Juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon French butter

1 tablespoon olive oil


1 tablespoon butter

4 spring onions

12 goji berries, soaked with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


  1. For the stuffing: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crumble the ginger bread and place in the oven to dry until crispy and slightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil with the salt and blanch the whole pigeon for 2 minutes. Remove and pat the skin to dry.
  3. Mix 3 ounces of the toasted gingerbread with 1 tablespoon water; reserve the remaining gingerbread for garnish. Stuff the gingerbread mix into the pigeon cavity.
  4. For the glaze: Place a saucepan over medium heat, add the honey and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the peppercorns, coriander, zest, anise, cinnamon, lemongrass and orange juice. Infuse the mixture for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat an ovenproof saucepan to medium heat, add the butter and olive oil, then brown the skin of the pigeon, roughly 2 minutes on each side, basting with the melted butter. Remove the oil and butter from the pan, then brush the glaze all over the pigeon. Pour 1/2 cup water into the pan, then roast the pigeon in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. For the garnish: Add the butter to a pan with 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Then add the spring onions and cook until wilted, 2 minutes.
  7. Break down the pigeon into 4 servings. Remove a spoonful of the stuffing from the pigeon and arrange it next to a piece of the bird on a plate. Then assemble the spring onion to the side of this. The star anise, lemongrass and cinnamon are used as a garnish over the bird. Then drizzle the glaze over the pigeon and around the plate. Crumble some of the reserved gingerbread around the plate and decorate with some goji berries. Repeat for the remaining servings.