It is the season for game; which tastes best when baked in to a pie.
Nothing beats a hearty game pie recipe to make a show stopping centrepiece on your table, and Boxing Day is simply not the same without one. Making one takes a little effort but is not as difficult as it may seem.
Various British game is in season from August through early in to the new year. Buy your game from either a good butcher or online, though out of season, the meat will be frozen.
Use whichever game you enjoy or can get but using a mixture willmake a more exciting pie. Serve generous slices on a buffet table or serve at dinner with creamy mash and red cabbage.
- 750g mixed game
- 250g belly pork, minced
- 1 teaspoon mace
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- tiny pinch ground cloves
- 75 ml red wine
- 2 tbsp brandy
- sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
Hot water pastry
- 80g lard plus 1 extra tablespoon for greasing
- 80g butter
- 200ml water
- pinch of sea salt
- 465g plain flour plus extra for rolling
Assemble the pie:
- 2 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk
Serves 6 - 8 people
Put all the pie filling ingredients into a large baking bowl, season generously with salt and pepper, stir and leave to marinate for at least an hour, overnight if you have time.
When you are ready to make the pie, place a colander or sieve over a large bowl, tip the meat into this and leave it to drain whilst you make the pastry – you want the meat to be moist but not wet. Discard the marinade.
Lightly smear the inside of a 24cm non-stick raised game pie mould with the extra lard and put it to one side.
Melt the lard, butter, water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and tip the melted fat in and beat together quickly with a wooden spoon to bring the pastry together.
Once the pastry is cool enough to handle, tip it onto the worktop and knead for a few minutes to create a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Cut away a good third of the pastry, wrap this in a warm tea towel and put it to one side.
Roll the remaining pastry and carefully lay it into the mould lightly. Next, tear off a small piece of pastry, roll it into a ball and use to press the pastry into the decorative crevices and corners of the tin; this pastry is very forgiving and should it tear, it will pinch together very easily. Finally, check there are no holes; plug it with a little pastry if you find one.
Heat the oven to 200ºC.
Stir the redcurrant jelly and cranberries through the drained meat, then pack firmly into the mould; by doing this in layers rather than tipping the whole lot in, you can ensure the different meats are evenly distributed.
Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid for your pie, lay it over the meat, trim the edges, then crimp the edges tightly together. Now comes the fun part.
Beat the egg and milk together, then generously paint a wash over the surface of the pie. Next, gather all the pastry trimmings and cut them into whatever shapes take your fancy to decorate the pie—brush one side of the shape with more egg and position on the pastry. Finally, cut two small holes into the top of the pie to help release steam whilst cooking.
Put the pie on the middle shelf of the oven, put another shelf underneath with a baking tray just in case there are any leakages from the pie. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 160ºC and cook for a further two hours. Some juices may run from the steam holes, but these add a delicious caramelly character to the pastry, so do not worry. You can tell the pie is cooked when the pastry has ever so slightly shrunk away from the mould.
Once cooked, remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack and leave for several hours or overnight to cool completely before you even think about removing the pie from the mould.
Serve warm or cold, preferably never straight from the fridge; room temperature is best. Store the pie wrapped in greaseproof paper, and it will keep well in the refrigerator for a week.
Elaine Lemm is a freelance Food & Recipe Writer🍴Guild of Food Writers🍴Yorkshire Ambassador🍴BBC Good Food 🍴Yorkshire Post 🍴Food52🍴Spruce Eats🍴Awards Judging
Elaine's latest recipe book comes out 2022 and will feature this excellent recipe.
Does temperature mean for fan oven?