For the game filling
- 2 level tsp salt
- ½ level tsp ground black pepper
- pinch ground mace
- pinch nutmeg, freshly ground
- 2 whole juniper berries
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh, chopped)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- a little olive or sunflower oil, for frying
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 150g mallard
- 150g pheasant
- 150g pigeon
- 300g venison
- 50g smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled & medium grated
- 30g fresh parsley, chopped
For the hot water pastry
- 550g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- 70g unsalted butter, diced (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 100g lard
- 200ml boiling water
For the egg wash
- 1 egg, beaten
- pinch salt
For the chicken jelly
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 100ml boiling water
- 7g leaf gelatine
Making the filling
- Place the salt, pepper, mace, nutmeg, juniper berries and thyme in a spice mill and grind until smooth and well mixed.
- Sweat the onion in a little oil until soft but not coloured. Remove from the heat, add the crushed garlic, mix well and leave to cool completely.
- Chop the game bird meat and 100g of the venison into pieces around 2.5cm. Place in a large bowl, add ¾ of the prepared seasoning and mix well. Cover with cling film and place on the bottom shelf of your fridge.
- To make the forcemeat, mince or finely chop the remaining venison. Place in a bowl and mix in the chopped bacon and the remaining seasoning. Add the cooled onion and garlic, the carrot and parsley and mix well.
- Remove the chopped game from the fridge, add the forcemeat to the bowl and mix well. Return to the fridge overnight.
Making the pastry
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then make a well in the centre.
- In a heavy-based saucepan, gently heat the sunflower oil and lard until just melted. Add the boiling water and stir until combined.
- Pour the hot mixture into the flour and, with a spatula, gradually mix the flour and liquid together until a dough forms.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2-3 minutes until smooth and shiny, taking care as it will be hot. The dough should be used while still warm, so that it does not crack as it cools.
Lining the tin
- Line the base of the tin with baking parchment, then place the sides on top so that the full base is lined.
- Cut the warm dough in half, wrapping one half in cling film to keep it moist.
- Roll out the other half into an oblong 7mm thick, measuring 48 x 10cm. Cut off 2 strips each measuring 10 x 1cm.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to 7mm thick. Holding the 2 sides of the tin tightly together as a pastry cutter, cut out an oval for the pie base.
- Roll out the leftover pastry to 5mm thick and cut out another oval for the pie lid. Keep the trimmings for decoration.
- Take the oblong of pastry and line the sides of the tin, starting and finishing at the tip or base of the oval. Avoid air pockets and press to ensure a good seal.
- Place the pastry base into the tin and press firmly to make a tight seal with the pastry sides. Take the 2 thin strips of pastry and place them upright at the tip and base of the oval, to reinforce the pastry.
Assembling & baking the pie
- Place the pie filling into the lined tin, pressing down firmly.
- Dampen the edges of the pastry lid, place it on top of the pie and crimp to seal.
- Make a small steam hole in the centre of the lid, then decorate as desired with pastry trimmings. Chill the pie in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Put the tin on a baking sheet and place on the middle oven shelf. After 10 minutes reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4 and bake for 1 hour. Keep an eye on the crust colour, and if it is getting too brown cover with tin foil.
- Take the pie out of the oven, remove the sides of the tin, then gently slide the pie off the cradle onto the baking tray. The pie is now on the base of the tin with all sides exposed.
- Brush the pastry lid and sides with egg wash to ensure a glossy finish, making sure all the crust is evenly coated. Insert a meat thermometer into the pie and return it to the oven at 180°C/Gas 4, checking the crust colour and covering with foil if needed. When the thermometer reaches 84°C remove the pie from the oven.
- Let the pie cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the chicken jelly by soaking the leaf gelatine in cold water. In a jug, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Squeeze out the gelatine and dissolve it in the hot stock, then strain through a sieve.
- Insert a funnel into the steam hole and pour in as much jelly as the pie can hold. After 5 minutes add more jelly, and continue until the pie can absorb no more. When cool enough, place the pie in the fridge until the next day.
Cook’s note: make the filling the day before the pie is assembled and baked. Once the pie is cooked, refrigerate it overnight before serving. Our Game Pie is filled with mallard, pheasant, pigeon and venison, but you can use any mixture that you prefer.
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