Pigeon & kale brose

by Neil Forbes

A twist on the traditional Scottish savoury porridge dish

Allow 1 pigeon breast per person as a starter, or 2 as a main with all the legs.


2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2-4 whole pigeons
30g butter
A few sprigs of thyme
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp beef fat from a previous roast (use extra butter if you can’t get hold of some)
200g pinhead oats, soaked for a minimum of 3 hours
250g picked kale, de-veined then blanched and refreshed in cold water
A drizzle of good olive oil
A squeeze of lemon
1 tbsp curly parsley, chopped


Heat the oven to 180C. To roast the pigeons, add the rapeseed oil to a frying pan on a moderate heat, add the birds and season. Colour the pigeons as they are cooking and after 3 to 4 mins, add 10g butter and the thyme. Place the pan in the oven and roast the birds for 7 to 10 mins. Don’t overcook them—a well-done pigeon is horrid. Remove the birds from the oven and rest somewhere warm.

To make the brose, in a thick-bottomed pan, sweat the onion in the beef fat for 5 to 10 mins on a medium heat until soft, but not coloured. Then add the soaked oats—these will contain some water but that’s ok. Season and keep your eye on them as they can stick. Don’t over heat. Add the remaining butter and continue to cook for about 30 mins or so. Keep checking the seasoning as you go. This is essentially a savoury porridge. Add the cooked kale and check the seasoning again.

To serve, remove the legs and breasts from the pigeons. Add the brose to a plate or a bowl and top with the pigeon. Drizzle with good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Recipe: Neil Forbes