Rufus Beets the Pigeons Away - my starter for Great British Menu 2017

Tommy Heaney

Tommy Heaney

20th June 2017

Rufus Beets the Pigeons Away - my starter for Great British Menu 2017

Rufus Beets the Pigeons Away - my starter for Great British Menu 2017


  • Baby Beetroot:
  • 2kg Medium Beetroot
  • 3 Bunches of Baby Beetroot (Yellow, Candied & White)
  • 100ml Rapeseed Oil
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • Salt
  • Smoked Beetroot:
  • Applewood Smoking Chips
  • Pickling Liquid:
  • 1ltr Water
  • 350ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 90g Sugar
  • 30g Salt
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Sprigs Thyme
  • Beetroot Emulsion:
  • 800g Beetroot Juice
  • 160g Cabernet Vinegar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 400ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pigeon:
  • 2 Pigeon Crowns
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 100ml Rapeseed Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Seeds:
  • 50g Sunflower Seeds
  • Pickled Berries:
  • Punnet Raspberries
  • Punnet Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pickled Shallots:
  • 2 Banana Shallots
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Chardonnay Vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Hazelnut Oil
  • Garnish:
  • Micro Mizuna
  • Nasturtium Leaf
  • Nasturtium Flowers
  • Red Currants


1. Remove the breasts from the bird. Remove the skin, season with salt, pepper, thyme and oil and seal the bag.
2. Beetroot emulsion; juice the medium sized beetroot (holding back 2 beetroots for the smoked beetroot). Weigh out 400g and reduce to 100g, add the remaining ingredients, reduce to 60g and cool. Add the egg yolks to a blender with the beetroot reduction slowly add the oil and season to taste.
3. Season the remaining beetroot (holding back one of each baby beets for pickling), vacuum seal individual colours in separate bags and steam at 90˚C for 30-35 minutes (90 minutes for the medium sized). Once cool enough to handle peel.
4. For the smoked beetroot. Place the cooked medium sized beets on a wire rack. Layer a baking tin with foil and ass smoking chips, place the wire rack over the chips and cover the whole tray with foil; place on direct heat for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of beetroots.
5. For pickling liquid; place all ingredients in a pan and heat to dissolve the salt and sugar.
6. For the pickled beetroots and shallots, peel and slice the remaining beetroot and slice the shallots into rings. Heat pickling liquid and pour over beetroot; once the vegetables have softened slightly, remove and layer on a tray.
7. Pickled berries; place the blackberries and blueberries in separate vacuum pouches and ladle 30ml of cold pickling liquid into each and seal on full pressure. Place the raspberries in a small take away container with 30ml of pickling liquid and compress.
8. For the seeds, place a pan n heat and ass the seeds, tossing until just coloured.
9. To make the dressing, emulsify vinegars and slowly add the oils, season to taste.
10. To serve; cook the pigeon breast at 58˚C for 15 minutes and slice in two. Place on plate with warm beetroot, berries, emulsion, seeds and pickled beetroot. Garnish with nasturtium leaves, flowers and lightly dress with vinaigrette.

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