The grey grouse is delicious in salads. Try Drew Ackroyd's generous Persian cracked wheat salad with pigeon if you need to feed a crowd

This Persian cracked wheat salad with pigeon is generous enough to feed a crowd. Be flexible with your quantities and add whatever ingredients take your fancy.

Our best gamebird makes great salads, try our pigeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing.


This persian cracked wheat salad with pigeon is generous and inexact; quantities are flexible but there must be lots of everything. Add things, omit some, it doesn’t matter – keep tasting throughout and create a wonderfully colourful plateful and a mouthful of flavours and textures.

Serves 6

  • 1 packet cracked wheat (or bulgar, or couscous if you must)
  • Chicken stock
  • Bunch of spring onions, chopped diagonally into 5mm lengths
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, centre removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1in fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Small bunch each parsley, coriander, chives, chopped, plus a little coriander for serving
  • 1 tsp rose harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomato purée
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Generous handful green pistachios, toasted and chopped (reserve some for serving)
  • Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • Very good olive oil
  • 12 pigeon breasts
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground coriander seed mixed with 1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Oil and butter for frying
  • Seeds of one pomegranate (or a packet)

To make this Persian cracked wheat salad with pigeon, prepare the cracked wheat with stock according to the instructions on the packet and, while still warm, toss in all the other salad ingredients and a slug of the best olive oil you can find. Taste, season, taste again; this may take more salt than you’d think. Leave to stand while you prepare the pigeon.

Lightly dust the breasts in the spice mixture and sear in a hot pan with a little oil and butter until just coloured: 20-30 seconds each side. Wrap the meat tightly together in foil and leave until ready to serve.

Taste the salad again – it develops and absorbs and may need more oil, lemon juice or salt. Slice the breasts into thin slivers and toss two-thirds in with the salad.

Heap each plate with the salad, top with the remaining pigeon and pour over the spicy juices from the foil. Sprinkle with chopped coriander, pomegranate seeds and more pistachios.