How to make the perfect game pork pie

This nomination from the Eat Game awards 2019 is sure to brighten up a dark evening. Thank Rachel Green.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 225g plain flour, sieved
  • 50g strong white flour, sieved
  • 40g butter, chilled & cubed
  • 75g lard, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 200g minced pork shoulder
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, or 3 tsp fresh thyme
  • 150g pheasant breasts, no skin
  • 50g sour cherries, halved
  • 150g pigeon breasts, no skin
  • 2 tbsp pistachios

To finish

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 gelatine leaves
  • 300ml chicken stock

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/350°F/gas mark 4

Sift the flours and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter and lard into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.

Heat the lard and 100ml water in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When the mixture is simmering, pour it into the well in the flour mixture and stir to combine bringing together as a dough.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out ¾ of the dough to the thickness of a pound coin and line the mould, pressing the pastry well into the base and sides of the tin, leaving the excess pastry hanging over the edge of the tin. It is a very forgiving pastry so if it tears, it can be easily patched up.

For the filling, put the minced pork into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix in the thyme and nutmeg. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and press down with the back of a spoon, making sure there are no air pockets. Place the pheasant breasts on top of the pork mixture followed by the cherries. Follow with a layer of pigeon breasts and then scatter over the pistachios. The pie needs to be well-packed so if there are any spaces, add some more game.

Roll out the remaining pastry until it is large enough to form a lid for the pie. Brush the overhanging edges with water and place the lid on top, squeezing it together at the edges to seal. Trim the excess pastry, decorate the top of the pie with any leftover pastry and flute around the edges. Make a hole in the centre of the lid and chill for 30 minutes.

Put the pie onto a baking sheet and brush the top of the pie evenly with some of the beaten egg. Put into the preheated oven and cook for an hour. Take the pie out of the oven and remove the pie from the tin. Brush the sides of the pie with some of the beaten egg and pop back in the oven for a further 30 minutes until nicely browned. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with some foil. The internal temperature needs to be at least 75°C.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool and chill overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes, remove and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the stock until almost boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Pour the cooled stock into the pie through the hole in the lid, pouring in a little at a time, allowing a few seconds before each addition until you can see the gelatine at the top of the pie through the hole.

Place the pie back in the fridge for another 2 hours to allow the jelly to set.

Eat the pie within 3 days.

With a week to go before nominations for the Eat Game Awards close on 8 November, now’s the time to shout about your favourite chef, restaurant, pub, farmer’s market or street food stall, game meat product, retailer, butcher or hero – all championing game.  Nominate now on www.eatgameawards.co.uk/nomination.  Finalist voting runs from 18 November to 10 January on www.eatgameawards.co.uk/vote.  Winners will be announced on 11 February 2020 at a gala dinner in London.


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