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    Game Pie

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    Game Pie

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes (plus 3 hours extra if making your own stock)
    • Cooking time: 165 minutes
    • Total time: 3 ½ hours (plus 3 hours extra if making your own stock) 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 6 - 8


    • Forcemeat
    • 400g pork belly, derinded and chopped
    • 250g rindless streaky bacon, chopped
    • 450g veal mince
    • 10 juniper berries, crushed
    • 3 tbsp sloe gin
    • 2 tbsp Noilly Prat
    • Leaves from 8 stalks of thyme
    • Grated zest of 2 clementines or 1 orange
    • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
    • Game
    • 350g pheasant or partridge meat, chopped into chunks
    • 300g mallard meat, in slices
    • 300g venison steak, in chunks
    • 6 quail's eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
    • 11.7g sachet gelatine granules
    • Pastry
    • 175g lard, cubed
    • 100ml milk
    • 525g plain flour
    • 1½ tsp salt
    • 2 medium eggs
    • Stock
    • Stripped carcasses of 2 game birds
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 large onion, skin on, quartered
    • 2 stems celery, chopped
    • 5 peppercorns
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 sprigs thyme


    1. Put all the stock ingredients in a pan. Cover with water, bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 3 hours. Cool and strain. (If you don't have time to make your game stock, use a good chicken stock.)
    2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a 22cm-diameter springform cake tin, about 7cm deep. (Alternatively, traditional game pie moulds, like the one used here, are available from headcook.co.uk)
    3. For the pastry, put the lard, milk and 100ml water in a pan. Bring to the boil. Put the flour and salt in a processor and, with the motor running, slowly pour in the hot lard mixture. Beat one egg, and pour this in, to form a dough. Cool a little, then turn out on a floured board. Cut off a quarter of the pastry, wrap in clingfilm, set aside and keep warm. Roll out the rest, put in the tin and mould to the sides and base with your fingers. It will tend to pull itself back down, but persevere. There must be no holes.
    4. Mince the pork belly in a processor. Put in a bowl. Do the same with the bacon. Mix with the other forcemeat ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Put a layer of the mix in the pastry-lined tin, then a layer of the game. Proceed in layers, packing the filling in well. Include the quail's eggs as you go.
    5. Beat the remaining egg. Roll out the reserved pastry. Brush the top of the pastry sides with egg and top with the pastry. Trim the edges and pinch together - they must be securely sealed. Cut a 1cm hole in the top of the pie. Cut shapes from the pastry offcuts to garnish. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 170°C, gas mark 3 and cook for 2 hours more, covering the pie with foil if it browns too much. Remove from the oven (leaving the oven on) and remove the sides of the tin. Brush the sides with more egg and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Insert a skewer through the hole in the top of the pie. If it comes out clean and the juices that bubble up are clear, the pie is cooked. If meat adheres to the skewer, or the juices look pink, return to the oven for 15 minutes, and repeat. When cooked, leave to cool.
    6. Boil the stock to reduce to 500ml. Season. Sprinkle the gelatine on the stock, leave for 1-2 minutes, then stir until dissolved. Leave until warm. Using a funnel, pour the stock into the pie through the hole in the top. Cool, then chill for a day. Serve with baked potatoes, chutney, redcurrant jelly and salad. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

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