Pigeon and Peas

Chef : Byran Webb : Tyddyn Llan (100x125)Rare Recipe from Bryan Webb, Tyddyn Llan

Prior to moving to Wales, Bryan ran Hilaire in London, a restaurant highly acclaimed by the food guides. Bryan has continued to gather awards and accolades at Tyddyn Llan. His cooking is all about subtle flavours and an uncompromising attitude to sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients.

photo : pigeon and peasGood cooks love peas - at least I do. Probably I’m obsessed about their sweetness and their starch content, about the relative merits of fresh and frozen, about the merits of peeled after podding and whether they should be boiled (à l'anglaise) or gently braised (à la franḉaise).

Summer is the time of year when you should go out and buy fresh peas. That is not to say there is anything wrong with frozen ones but when they are at their best during July and August although it's a chore to pod them it's well worth it. These days we are all much more lazy about domestic chores and it is never so obvious to me as when I see in the supermarket plastic-wrapped trays of shelled peas, and I admit to buying them myself in the past.

Like most of you I imagine, I am never without a half used bag of frozen peas in the freezer although they do tend to get knocked over leaving a few rolling around and getting iced up and hiding in the cracks under the ice tray. I am happy about using the frozen pea but there is nothing like the fresh ones, they cook all right and you don’t spend ages waiting for them to turn into greeny grey bullets. However I always feel that the frozen pea is always ridiculously sweet, although they work great in a soup with some wilted bitter salad to take away some of the sweetness.

I never tire of cooking peas although some of my helpers may get tired of podding them before their season ends, so please go and make the most of this simple and beautiful vegetable. Pigeon and peas is a classis combination and are best made with squab pigeon rather than the wild, I fear. If not available a small duck with an extra 20 minutes cooking would be more appropriate.

Pigeon and Peas for two



  1. Peel the outer skin of the spring onions and cut into small lengths, remove the stalk of the lettuce and cut into thin ribbons.
  2. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the peas, lettuce and onion, coat with the butter and season with salt and pepper, cover with water, add a sprig of mint and cook over a moderate heat until the peas become tender, then remove from the heat.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 240°C, season the inside of the pigeons, drizzle some oil over and roast in a pan for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to 200°C add the chopped vegetables and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more, remove from the oven and rest on a warm plate on their breasts.
  4. Add a pinch of flour to the pan, scraping up the juices with the wine reduce and add the chicken stock, strain though a sieve and add to the peas, warm though and serve with the pigeon together with a bowl of butter Jersey Royal potatoes.