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Main courses

Contemporary Tuscan cuisine: pigeon with turnips, shallots and chard


A long time ago, pigeon was a staple food for farmers as it was easy to breed in farmyards. It's said that pigeon was cooked to celebrate the height of the summer in mid-August and many villages still dedicate a food festival to it, such as the Sagra del Piccione in Montecchio, near Cortona, from late July to early August. 

We received an invitation from a restaurant specialized in contemporary Florentine cuisine "La Bottega del Buon Caffè" to take part in a cooking show by Chef Antonello Sardi and this is what we learned.

Check out here how to make pigeon with turnips, shallots and chard: fried thighs and pan-fried breasts, decorated with flowers and accompanied with turnips, creamed chard and shallots. All of the vegetables come from the restaurant owner’s estate in the Siena countryside. 

  • 4 pigeons
  • 8 shallots
  • Edible flowers
  • A bunch of chard
  • 4 white turnips
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Port
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Bone the pigeon and set the breast and thighs aside.

Prepare a broth with the pigeon bones and let it evaporate to make a dense sauce

Roll the thighs in breadcrumbs

Bake the white turnips and the shallots at 180 degrees for an hour

Boil the beets in salted water and blend them to make a smooth cream

Cook the pigeon brisket with a little olive oil in a hot pan just on the side with the skin

In the same pan, sauté first the white turnip and then the shallots with a bit of Port. 

Fry the thighs

Spread the beet cream on the plate.

Arrange the white turnip, the thigh and the breast covered with the sauce and a drizzle of olive oil

Finally, decorate with edible flowers.


About Antonello Sardi and La Bottega del Buon Caffè

Antonello Sardi is the young Florentine chef at La Bottega del Buon Caffè in Florence. Designed by Jeanette Thottrup  the restaurant offers the freshest ingredients daily from Borgo Santo Pietro’s own farm and creates fancy seasonal dishes.

Food and Wine