Chef Tommy Banks of the Black Swan at Olstead shares his recipe for pigeon breast with spelt and beetroot.

Chef Tommy Banks’ Pigeon, Spelt and Beetroot
Serves 1


  • Spelt
  • 1kg spelt
  • 1 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • chicken stock
  • Salt baked beetroot purree
  • 2kg crapadine beetroot
  • salt
  • Pickled beetroot
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g white wine
  • 100g white wine vinegar
  • Pigeon
  • 2 pigeon breasts
  • duck fat
  • To serve
  • Hen-of-the-woods mushrooms
  1. Brine the pigeon breasts in a 3.5% brine for 12 hours, then vac pac the pigeon breasts in duck fat and cook at 60oC for 6 mins.
  2. For the spelt, sweat off the onion, garlic and celery in plenty of butter. Add the spelt and colour in the butter and add enough chicken stock to cover. Then slowly braise the spelt for 30 minutes or until tender add more stock if required.
  3. For the salt baked beetroot purree, take half the beetroot wash the skin whilst the beets are still wet roll them in fine salt and wrap in tin foil. Put in the oven at 180oc and bake until tender. Take the rest of the beetroot peel them and then juice them. Combine the salt baked beetroot with the fresh juice and blend until smooth.
  4. For the pickled beetroot, combine the wine vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil then leave to cool. Slice beetroots thinly then compress them in the pickling liquor.
  5. To serve, combine the spelt and beetroot purée, cover the spelt in pickled beetroot. Serve with carved pigeon breast and pan fried hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.