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Chefs Recipe: Warm Salad of Alresford Wood Pigeon by Matthew Tomkinson of The Terrace Restaurant at The Montagu Arms

16th Nov 2016

Whether you have shot it yourself or acquired a ‘kit of pigeons’ from the hands of a friend, you will want to cook your trophy bird well! Here is a wonderfully warming recipe with a hint of the season to come from Head Chef Matthew Tomkinson of the newly refurbished The Terrace at The Montagu Arms. 

Warm Salad of Alresford Wood Pigeon with Caramelised Walnuts and Beetroot


  • 4 pigeon crowns
  • 100g of mirepoix
  • 30g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 175 ml of red wine, fruity
  • 500ml of dark Chicken stock
  • 8 pigeon legs, roasted
  • Candied walnuts recipe
  • 20 walnut halves
  • 100g of sugar
  • 100ml of water
  • Pickled mushrooms recipe
  • 100g of Hon Shimegi mushrooms
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 42ml of white wine vinegar
  • 42ml of water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Beetroot compote recipe
  • 2 large beetroots
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 30g of butter
  • 1 English apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 20g of capers
  • 250 ml of red wine
  • 2 tbsp of redcurrant jelly
  • To plate
  • 1 handful of watercress


1. To make the candied walnuts, dissolve sugar in an equal amount of water and pour over the nuts. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook until it reaches 140°C. Drain quickly and then deep-fry the nuts in oil at 180°C until golden and crispy. Drain and allow to cool

2. For the pickled mushrooms, bring the water and vinegar to the boil. Add the sugar to taste and then add the mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Remove from the heat and chill

Girolles can be used as an alternative to the Hon Shimeji mushrooms if they are unavailable

3. For the beetroot compote, heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 3. Wrap the beetroots in foil, and then bake the sealed foil parcels for 40 minutes until they are just tender. When cool, peel and coarsely grate

4. In a small pan, sweat the onion in the butter then add the beetroot and the grated apple, followed by the capers. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the wine and jelly and cook until thick and glossy

5. For the pigeon, first preheat the oven to 240°C/Gas mark 9. Then prepare the sauce. Sweat the mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrot) in the butter for five minutes, add honey and allow to caramelise before adding the wine and reducing by half

6. Roast the pigeon legs at 180c for 15 minutes until golden brown

7. Add the stock and the golden brown legs and simmer for an hour. Pass through a sieve and reserve.

8. Brown the crowns in a hot pan using olive oil and place in the oven for six minutes. Allow to rest and carve the breasts off

9. To serve, scatter the walnuts and mushrooms around the plate and place drops of beetroot compote in and around. Lay the breasts over the garnish and top with dressed watercress leaves and a few spoons of the sauce

The Chef – Matthew Tomkinson

Matthew Tomkinson
Matthew Tomkinson

Starting his career in 1998, working at a vegetarian restaurant in Cheshire, Matthew set his sights on fine dining and went on to win the prestigious Roux Scholarship in 2005 (at 29) during his four-year stint at Michelin starred Ockenden Manor.

Matthew takes great pleasure in his everyday work and it’s that passion that will always shine. “Our achievements help our guests understand that there is a certain standard of food that is served here and we aspire to be the highest quality. Awards are an incredible achievement but it can’t be the focus, guests must always be that. If you look after people properly, the rest will come.”

The Restaurant – The Terrace at the Montagu Arms |Palace Lane, Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7ZL | www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk | 01590 612324

The Member Club offer – members receive a 15% reduction from the total bill when having lunch Wednesday to Saturday (average saving £25 based on two people enjoying three courses). Click here for more details.

Matthew has forged a highly identifiable style that mixes classic French technique with his love of home-cooked food. Expect richly comforting dished laced with touches of innovation. At the Terrace Restaurant he likes to serve food that makes sense; food that reflects the year, the location and the incredible local produce we are so spoilt with.

“The New Forest is my larder and what a larder it is!”

The Montagu Arms Hotel
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