Roasted pigeon squab with beetroot and tomato purée

Serves 4
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This sweet, luxurious beetroot purée works well with the succulent flavour of pigeon. Allow one pigeon per person. Don't bother to truss them – their skin is crispier when not tied up.

4 pigeon squab
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beetroot purée

20 small tomatoes
A little olive oil
6 small beetroot, washed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g/1oz unsalted butter
2tbsp crème fraîche

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas3. Place the tomatoes on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until soft. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Turn the oven up to 250C/480F/Gas9, in preparation for the pigeon. Place the birds on a roasting tray, season them well all over and inside the cavity. Place in the hot oven and roast for 15 minutes. When it's done, remove and rest for 10 minutes.

While this is cooking, place the beetroot in a saucepan and cover with cold water, season with salt and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat and simmer until tender. The beetroot is cooked when it can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and allow the beetroot to cool slightly and remove the skin.

Place it in a blender along with the roasted tomatoes, crème fraîche and butter. Purée until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper. It should taste buttery and sweet. Set aside.

To serve, gently warm the purée and serve with the pigeon.

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