4 oven-ready Bresse or Anjou pigeons olive oil
4 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into batons
12 cocktail onions, peeled and trimmed
200g ventreche (or unsmoked streaky bacon)
125g cold butter
600g fresh peas, podded
250ml chicken stock
1 round lettuce, shredded
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Prepare the pigeons for roasting, season inside with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then smear birds all over with olive oil. Roast in the oven, turning on all sides, for about 8-10 mins for pink. Leave to rest before removing the legs and trimming to neaten.
Blanch the carrots and onions in boiling water for 1 min, then refresh in iced water to keep them slightly undercooked.
Blanch the ventreche for 5 mins, then cut into small lardons. Melt 25g of the butter in a sauté pan, add the ventreche and cook for 3-4 mins or until just starting to colour, then add the onions and carrots. After a few mins, add the peas and stock to moisten.
Bring mixture to a simmer, then, piece by piece, stir in the remaining butter to thicken and enrich the stock. Finally, add the shredded lettuce and cook briefly, just until the leaves wilt. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Flood each serving plate with the stewed peas and vegetables and place pigeon on top.