British Pie Week is upon us and it only seems right to celebrate said week with an incredible game pie. On Tania’s top-rated pies are classic Steak & Ale and Chicken & Mushroom. That’s the level of pie I’m going to lead this blog with here!
So, to start off let’s talk a little bit about the main ingredients; the Duck, Pheasant and Pigeon used in this pie have all been shot by myself and picked by my beautiful black Labrador ‘Hector’. If that doesn’t just make the pie in itself, I don’t know what does. The pigeons were all shot protecting our arable crops to make sure that fellow readers such as yourself can enjoy making pies like this by having enough flour to complete the recipe. The Pheasant and Duck I shot on a very local game shoot this season, making memories that will last forever and the pork was butchered and fattened less than 5 miles from my house. As far as carbon footprint and sustainability goes, I think we’re doing alright!
- 200g of lard or beef drippings
- 120ml of water
- 120ml of milk
- 1tsp of salt
- 460g Plain Flour
Game pie filling:
- 2 Duck breasts
- 4 Pheasant breasts
- 6 Pigeon breasts
- + any other breasts you would like to add – I tend to change the breasts ratio every time I make it based on how I’ve got things bagged up in the freezer and what I’m feeling.
- 200g pork minced (shoulder optional)
- 1 egg yolk (glazing)
Jelly filling – after cooked:
- 100ml game stock (if you’re using frozen breasts and don’t have game stock) I’ve found a rich beef stock still tastes banging
- 5 tbsps of sloe gin (I usually double, depends how you live life)
- 2 leaves of gelatine
- 50g of redcurrant jelly or wild cranberry sauce
- 8 Juniper berries
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt
- Make a well in the centre of the flour but so there’s still a thin layer of flour at the base.
- Heat the lard, water and milk until runny with no lumps on medium heat.
- Pour the liquid into the well of the flour and begin to mix with a wooden spoon.
- The consistency should become thicker and thicker once this happens turn to your hand and continue working it until it’s consistently smooth.
- Allow to cool slightly. While cooling grab a wee bit of extra lard and grease the inside of your baking tin.
- Evenly cover the tin in dough making sure you leave enough to the side for the lid of the pie.
- I would recommend going thinner and wider here rather than fuller and deeper. Much easier to cook and reheat for lunches etc.
- Prep your game, if washing make sure you dry properly as this may create excess juice in your pie and make a soggy bottom (no one likes a soggy bottom)
- Cut your meat into thin strips no more than 6mm thick to allow layering and add seasoning (salt and pepper).
- I like to put my pork down first covering the bottom of the pastry then add my breast portions on top in a random selection until the pie is full.
- Use part of the egg yolk to glaze the top of the dough around the edges
- Now place the left-over dough that you kept separate for the lid across the top of the pie.
- Cover the top of the pie in the rest of the glaze, if you run out, don’t be afraid to crack another egg and use another yolk. I always like to get a proper coverage on the top of my pie for the gorgeoussss glaze.
- Cut a small hole in the center of the pie, make this quite deep if you can, makes life easier later. I like to stick a teaspoon down and circle.
- Place your pie into the oven, I have an Aga so I go bottom right which is the low and slow section, but I’d advise around 160°C for normal ovens for roughly one hour. This will vary depending on the thickness of your pie, sometimes they can take up to an hour and a half if they are thicker.
- 5 mins before the pie is coming to an end in the oven. Add the 2 gelatine leaves to a layer of cold water in a bowl and allow to soften.
- Place the redcurrant jelly / wild cranberry sauce, sloe gin and game stock into a pan and heat up. Once it all mixes together and reaches boiling, remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaves.
- Grab a whisk and keep whisking until the gelatine has dissolved into the liquid.
- Once the gelatin has dissolved add your juniper berries and leave to one side for a few minutes making sure it doesn’t set.
- Once the pie has fully cooked and you’re happy, funnel the jelly into the centre of the pie using the hole you previously made. If this hole doesn’t take it all don’t be afraid to make smaller holes around the pie to take the jelly.
- Once you have all the liquid in the pie, I would definitely recommend leaving out the juniper berries, they have a strong kick.
- Allow the pie to cool and pop in the fridge overnight to set.
Voilà your pie is ready to go. I like to serve mine hot which usually takes about 20 mins in the oven to heat through all the game properly before serving.
Hopefully you’re all super proud of your pies and make sure you let me know when you have a go, love to see any photos / stories of you guys trying this out!!