A country style raised game pie

A raised country game pie

by rich on September 15, 2010

On rooting through the freezer, I found a pack of mixed game – pigeon breasts, venison and rabbit – right at the back.

Now, I must make it clear that, whilst the fact that I’ve got game meat in my freezer sounds quite grand, I’m not some sort of country gentleman who shot this meat on his own estate.  I’m a resolutely urban dweller, who just happens to have been given a pack of meat about a year ago, froze it whilst trying to decide what to do with it and promptly forgot about it until the kids demanded fish fingers for tea, causing me to stumble across it again.

Anyway, I let the meat defrost so that I’d be forced to come up with something to cook.

I eventually decided on a game pie, a more countrified take on the classic pork pie.

The method is exactly the same – hot water pastry, big chunks of meat bound together in a rough pate with minced pork, a heavy hand with the herbs and seasoning, topped up with jellied pork stock.

Raised game pie

Start by making a hot water pastry.  This really is a very simple method – there’s no finesse about it at all.  It’s just a lot of fat and flour.  Brilliant.

Add 100g each of butter and lard to a pan containing 200ml of water and gently heat until the fats are melted.  In a large bowl, mix 550g of plain flour and a teaspoon and a half of salt together, then cut a couple of eggs into the flour with a  knife.

When the eggs are half mixed in, add the water and fat and stir it all together into a hot dough.  Knead the dough until it’s smooth, pop it into a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

In the meantime, make the filling.

I had a 500g pack of mixed game meat - pieces of venison, rabbit and pigeon chopped up into chunks about two centimetres in size.  The meat was dark and juicy and had a superb gamey feel to it.  To this meat, I added about another 500g of minced belly pork, although I did cut off a few biggish chunks of lean pork before  I minced the belly, just to keep the mix interesting.

Some streaky bacon wouldn’t go amiss, if you’ve got it.

Mix the meats together very thoroughly and  season well with salt and white pepper.  Add plenty of finely chopped sage, at least a dozen big leaves, and the leaves from a few sprigs  of thyme.

Line a 20cm cake tin with  the rested dough – just roll out the pastry, retaining some for  a lid, lift it into the tin and push it up the sides with your hands.  It’s meant to be a rough and ready affair.

Fill the pastry crust with the meat, plunge a bay leaf into the middle and put the lid on the top, crimping it onto the base with your fingers.  Make sure that the pie is sealed well.

Cut a small hole in the very centre of the lid, brush with a little beaten egg, then cook for thirty minutes at 180c and then a further hour and a quarter at 160c.

When the pie is cooked, put it to one side to cool for a while, and then use a funnel or turkey baster to fill it with pork stock through the hole you cut earlier.  Be certain that the stock you use will set as a jelly.

I must admit to cheating this time – my stock came from a cube, and had some gelatine added – but I’m a busy person and I don’t like the idea of pig’s trotters much.

Leave the pie to cool completely overnight in the fridge and then slice into enormous wedges and eat whilst rambling around your country estate.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc-Frederic September 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I've been teaching this exact recipe for years, it is truly a great recipe.
Regards
Marc-Frederic

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Island Vittles September 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I think you may have just changed my (English) husband's life forever. He has been waiting for me to find your recipe. Thanks! Theresa

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Kathy Gori September 16, 2010 at 1:16 am

wow!! i love this. A very famous actor gave us a British game pie mold as a wedding gift years ago, it sits on a shelf in the kitchen and I've never used it because I never knew how!! Now I do. Thanks soooooo much for this great piece. Every time I see this guy on the screen I think about the game pie mold and feel guilty. I've almost sold it on ebay or given it away several times but I hate to throw away gifts, now I odn;t have to.

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rich September 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm

…I suppose it would be rude to ask 'who'???

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Sara September 16, 2010 at 4:15 am

That is one grand meat pie.

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 16, 2010 at 7:12 am

I think this is the perfect recipe for this freezer find. You've also just reminded me I have had some venison chorizo in my freezer for far too long and I must do something with it!

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Pierre A Lamielle September 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Stunning!

That's a good looking standing pie, loving the jelly.

What kind of camouflage do you use to go freezer hunting?

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rich September 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

…Arctic colours – white, muted greys, that sort of thing. I look kind of like this

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blackbookkitchendiar September 17, 2010 at 6:02 pm

this is what i have been craving for… yum!

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The Mom Chef ~ Takin September 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

This looks amazing. I have to admit that while the picture is gorgeous, you had me drooling at the mention of the sage leaves. What an aroma you'd have spill out of the pie when you cut into it. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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Tammy September 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

What a great recipe, my husband is originally from Wakefield in Yorkshire and has been bugging me to make him a homemade pork pie for ages but I think he would prefer this instead!

Thanks x

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gerry September 23, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Rich, I make raised game pies a lot, much in the way you do in your recipe. I do add 1tbs Dijon mustard and 1tbs Geo Watkins' anchovy sauce to the ingredients. About pigs' trotters, which you don't like; you can make a jellied stock using bacon and pork skins instead. I used to boil up these skins to chop up and feed to the garden birds. One day I forgot to fish them out and discovered the stock they were in had set to a jelly.

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leigh October 22, 2010 at 8:33 am

Rich – am going to try and make this at Christmas – I'll let you know how I get on if I do.

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rik sellwood January 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm

what a fantastic recipe, fed about 12 of us for one meal
and then plenty of leftovers. My mistake was not to include some
fatty pork leaving the pie a little dry but it worked
perfectly.

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Ian November 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

Wow. What a pie! Love it. Pastry delicious, strong gamey taste. Will be in the Boxing Day buffet for sure. I cheated with the stock – usead a stock cube and gelatin. Wasn’t sure how much to use, so soaked 4 leaves of gelatin in cold water and then dissolved them in 200ml of warm water with the stock cube crumbled in. Seemed to work fine. The butcher wouldn’t mince the belly pork as he said there would be nothing left of it (?), so I trimmed it and chopped it in a food processor. Probably should have left more fat in as the pie is just a touch dry, although this is being hard on myself. So what else could I chuck in it? A little port, or red wine?
Thanks for a great, easy recipe. Wonderful

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Mark Whitehead February 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I was searching for a good recipe for pork & rabbit pie, and this one’s fairly close – it sounds GREAT and it will adapt easily to the meat I’ve got (a couple of rabbit). I particularly like the fact that you use the meat chunked rather than minced, as this gives a much better texture to the pie.

(I love pork pies, with or without eggs, and never mince the meat, just cube it. They don’t in Melton Mowbray, and they’ve been making pork pies there for a few years!)

On one point I slightly disagree. All the pork pie and similar recipes I read say to make the crust first. Whilst you may be quicker than me, I find that chopping up pork takes so long that the pastry’s gone hard before I come to use it. I therefore make the filling first, then the pastry and then have a cup of tea whilst the pastry cools just enough to be handled.

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