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This could possibly be the most extravagant recipe we have ever made but here it is, a full-blown, medieval game pie... not for the faint hearted. Although the recipe is immense, you can scale it down and it is actually quite simple so long as you can spare a day or so to make it!
- For the marinade
- 1 blade of mace
- 6 whole cloves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 3 strips of orange peel
- 100ml port or red wine
- 1 sprig of thyme
- For the filling
- 500g venison haunch
- 500g partridge
- 850g pheasant
- 300g guinea fowl or chicken
- 250g smoked bacon
- 500g minced pork belly
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- For the game stock aspic
- Bones and trimmings from game
- 250g onion (2) or shallot (4)
- 150g carrots(2)
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 10 juniper berries lightly crushed
- 150ml port or red wine
- 2litres water
- 6 leaves of gelatine
- For the hotwater crust pastry
- 670g plain flour
- 235g lard
- 100g unsalted butter
- 10g salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 350ml water
- For the glaze
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of cold water
Preparation Time: 3 – 4 hours (+ 12 hours marinading)
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes for the pie, 2 hours for the stock
Serves: 10 - 12
- Remove the breast fillets from the birds and joint the legs removing the meat from the bones. Slice the venison into 1cm thick slices and place all the meat except for the minced pork belly and bacon into a large bowl. Reserve all the trimmings and bones for the game stock.
- Make the marinade by lightly crushing the peppercorns, cloves and mace and sprinkle them over the meat. Then add the rest of the marinade ingredients to the meat in the bowl.
- Give it a good stir, cover the bowl with cling-film/plastic-wrap and place it in the fridge for 12 hours or over-night to marinate.
- Peel the onions or shallots and carrots, cut the onions into quarters (or shallots in half) and cut the carrots into roughly 3cm pieces.
- Place the game bones and trimmings into a large pot big enough to hold everything, add all the other ingredients for the stock into the pot except for the gelatine. Bring the stock up to the boil and then turn it down to a gentle simmer, skimming off all of the foamy impurities that float to the surface with a ladle or spoon.
- Simmer the stock for 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours, drain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot and reduce the liquid by boiling it until there is 500ml of stock left. Reserve this stock for later, it will be used for pouring into the pie when it has cooked.
- Make the Hotwater crust pastry using the quantities listed above. Cut off about a third of the pastry, wrap this back up in the cling film/plastic wrap and reserve for later (this will become the pie lid). Roll out the remaining piece of pastry to a thickness of about ½cm.
- Grease the inside of a 22cm pie tin with a removable base and place the rolled out pastry inside the tin. Mould it up the sides so that it is smooth and even, cut off the excess pastry and then set it uncovered in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 190°c and place a baking tray on the middle shelf to heat up.
- After the 30 minutes, remove the lined pie tin and the marinated game from the fridge.
- Layer half the minced pork in the bottom of the pie and then start layering the marinated game and the bacon in the pie, wiping the meat of any spices and herbs as you go. Season each layer of game with salt & pepper. The order in which you layer it doesn’t really matter but the idea is to see the defined alternate layers of game in each slice of the cooked pie.
- When the pie is filled, roll out the reserved pastry for the lid to a thickness of about ½cm. Brush the rim of the filled pie with some water so that it is moist, then lay the pie lid over it and trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Crimp the edges together so it is tightly sealed.
- Make a hole in the centre of the pie so that steam can escape. If you so choose, with the remaining pastry you can make decorations for the top of the pie, be it leaves and berries, abstract shapes, a self portrait or a representation of Joseph Turner’s “Eruption of Vesuvius” 1817 oil on canvas. This, of course, will depend on how much time you have. We chose to go overboard with every pastry cutter we could find.
- When the design has been executed, make the egg glaze by mixing the egg yolk and water together in a small cup and, using a pastry brush, paint it over the top of the pie. Place the pie into the oven for 20 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to 150°c and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- Then remove the pie from the oven and remove it from the tin, brush the out side of the pie walls with the remaining egg wash, return it to the oven and bake it for a further 30 minutes. If the top starts to get too brown place a piece of foil on the top of the pie, shiny side up.
- Take the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- When the pie is at room temperature prepare the aspic. Warm the game stock so it is hot but not boiling and then remove it from the heat. Place the gelatine leaves into cold water for 5 minutes to become soft, then squeeze the gelatine of any excess water and put it into the stock, stirring it to dissolve the gelatine. Pour the stock through a fine sieve into a pouring jug.
- Using a funnel or bulb baster, pour the warm stock through the hole in the top of the pie until the pie is full. Wait for 10 minutes and then top it up so that the pie is truly filled. Place the pie into the fridge over night so the aspic sets inside the pie.
- The next day, slice the pie and serve. We highly recommend eating it with some fig chutney.
- Any type of game can be used (providing its in season of course). You could also try putting fruit, such as raisins, figs or sliced pear into the pie. It would have been considered barbaric in the medieval period but could lighten the load a touch.