Pigeon, young beetroot & pickled girolles

by Hayden Groves

A warm salad full of autumn flavours from regular demo chef Hayden Groves


4 baby yellow beetroot
4 baby red beetroot
1 candy striped beetroot
2 tbsp olive oil
75g Scottish girolles, cleaned
2 whole pigeons, wish bone and legs removed
1 garlic clove
1 sprig of thyme
1 bunch watercress
1 baby gem lettuce
1 pear, peeled and cut into fine slices

For the dressing:
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
A squeeze of lemon juice
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Wash the yellow and red beetroot and wrap in tin foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 mins, or until just tender.

Peel and slice the candy beetroot as finely as possible and leave in cold water to crisp. Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar, seasoning, lemon and olive oil together.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cook the girolles for 2 mins, then season generously with salt and pepper. Reserve in a small ramekin and cover with the dressing.

Wipe out the mushroom pan and heat another spoonful of oil. Season and seal the pigeon including the legs on all sides, until the skin is lightly golden. Add the garlic and thyme and continue cooking in the oven for a further 3-4 mins. Remove the pigeons and allow to rest for 5 mins but carry on cooking the legs for a further 5 mins.

Remove the beetroot from the tin foil, rub the skin off and cut each into 4.

Deglaze the pan with the dressing from the mushrooms to release all the flavoured juices. Decant into a bowl, dress the leaves, beetroot, crisp candy beetroot and pear. Carefully fillet the pigeon breast off the crown and arrange with the legs on 4 warm plates with the garnish. Scatter over the warm pickled girolles.

Recipe: Hayden Groves