I can’t believe it’s December already – and time to get really festive! Recently I unboxed my third meat box, a hand selected box of game from the Blackface Meat Company. I’d had this idea of working my way through a whole month of Christmas dinners, but even the Christmas enthusiast in me had to admit that was an over-ambitious idea. Not to mention it might dampen my appetite for real Christmas!
My Riverford box crossed over slightly with the arrival of Blackface, which meant I had some of this amazing haunch of venison still leftover. With that in mind, I decided to cook a ‘hunter’s pie’ using the leftover venison and partridge from the new box. Gasp, cross-pollination! <Don’t cross the boxes…*>. And there’s definitely something very festive about a hearty game pie. (*Name the reference)
For this recipe, I used:
- Leftover venison, cooked, and cut into bite size pieces
- 4 partridge breasts (they only amounted to 230g, wee things that they are)
- Puff pastry
- 1 diced onion
- Chopped garlic
- 1 diced carrot
- 150g mushrooms
- 300ml red wine
- 300ml chicken stock
- Cranberry jelly
- Couple of bay leaves
- Thyme (I used dried, not fresh)
- 1 egg, for glazing
I first lightly pan-fried the partridge breasts, cut into bite size pieces. They look very similar to chicken breasts and release an incredibly fragrant smell when cooked! Then it was a very simple case of frying up the chopped onion, garlic and vegetables until soft. Added the wine, stock, dollop of cranberry jelly for a rich fruity sauce, herbs and gentle seasoning and brought it to a boil. Then I reduced the sauce to a simmer and added the meat for 45 minutes.
Then I decanted the pie mix into a pie dish – (a traditional Falcon from my favourite shop, Labour and Wait) and waited for it to cool. It’s important to let the pie mix cool or your pastry will collapse! I topped the dish with a ready made puff pastry sheet, crimped the edges with a fork, cut a hole for the steam to escape and glazed with a beaten egg. Then it was into the oven at 200C for 30 minutes.
Ooooh this was a lovely little pie. The white partridge breast had turned a deep brown colour and it tasted like kidneys. Very rich and velvety. And the cranberry jelly and wine in the sauce gave it a fruity and Christmassy flavour. If you try this recipe, you can substitute the meat with anything you fancy – pheasant, rabbit, hare…
The pie served four, or would have if my brother hadn’t wolfed down half of it.