Raised Game Pie Recipe - Allegra McEvedy

BTBK-Raised-Game-PIe-photo-by-Chris-Terry.jpg
Raised Game Pie. Chris Terry
  • 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 12
Ratings (6)

Be warned this is a serious pie. It take time to make, but believe me, it is worth it. This pie could be the star of your Christmas show, and will also work at any other time of the year when you want a showstopper. The pie recipe comes courtesy of super-talented food writer Allegra McEvedy in her book Big Table, Busy Kitchen published by Quercus.

This is what Allegra has to say about it:

"This impressive fellow emanates pride: it is one almighty pie ... something Henry VIII would happily have got his chops around. The making of it is nothing short of a declaration of love for your family and friends as well as for the art of cooking, because this is not one to rush. Enjoy it, and for every ounce of care you put in, I promise you the rewards will be manifold."

What You'll Need

  • 400 g. cooked ham
  • 250 g. pork back fat (minced)
  • 500 g. venison (diced in 3cm chunks)
  • 2 duck breasts (skinned and cut into 6–8 largish chunks)
  • 150 g bacon (unsmoked streaky bacon, sliced)
  • 8 partridge breasts (skinned)
  • 12 shallots (or 6 banana shallots, chopped small)
  • 5 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 15 g. sage (leaves, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 30 g. butter
  • Splash of olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 60 ml. brandy
  • 60 ml. port
  • Pinch salt (or to taste)
  • Pinch black pepper (or to taste)
  • For the Pastry:
  • 375 g.​ ​lard
  • 1 kg. all-purpose flour (plus extra for tin)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten, with the milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. milk 
  • For the Jelly:
  • 750 ml. chicken stock (fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp. port

How to Make It

  1. On the morning of pie-making day, take the meat out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Butter a 26cm springform tin, about 7cm deep. Lightly flour the tin, turn upside down and tap a couple of times to get rid of the excess.
  2. In a wide pan, sweat the shallots, garlic, sage and allspice in the butter and a splash of olive oil for 15ish minutes until soft, golden and sweet; you don’t want them to colour, so pop a lid on halfway through and turn the heat down low. Once done, turn the heat right up and immediately pour in both the boozes. Let the liquid reduce completely to just a dark, sticky binding and leave to cool.
  1. Meanwhile, roughly chop the ham into 3cm pieces and put in a large bowl with the rest of the meat, except the partridge. Tip in the boozy shallots, season well and give it a jolly good mix.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160ºC/Gas 4.
  3. For the pastry, melt the lard into 500ml water in a small pan over a low heat. Bring to the boil then immediately turn the heat off. Tip the flour, salt and icing sugar into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the hot, fatty water into the hole and incorporate the flour to make a dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two to work into a ball.
  4. Cut off a quarter for the lid, and pull off a tennis-ball-sized lump for ‘Pie Hospital’, in case you need to go there later. Wrap both in cling film to keep them moist, and put aside. Lightly but thoroughly flour your surface and your rolling pin too. Roll out the pastry to a circle about 40cm across: big enough to line your tin with a bit of overhang, then roll it up around your pin and unroll it over the top of the tin.
  5. Using the flats of your fingers to even it out, press the dough into the tin, making sure you have a couple of centimetres of overhang all around the top. Press your knuckle all around where the sides meet the base, so the pastry isn’t too thick there.
  6. Now lift in half of the mixed meat, not packing it too tightly, and leave a centimetre or two of space all round the edge for the jelly to fill. Then lay in the partridge breasts like spokes on a wheel, narrow ends in the middle and fatter ends pointing outwards.
  1. Top with the rest of the meat, shaping it like a dome, then make a hole bang in the middle by sticking your finger half-way in (this helps the jelly distribute freely later).
  2. Roll out the pastry lid to a circle to fit snugly on top, and lay it on the meat. Brush with the egg wash, then fold the overhanging lip of pastry up and over to cover the join, and press to make sure you have a good seal (a little crimping never goes amiss).
  3. Egg-wash the circumference crown, not letting it drip between the pastry and tin or it may stick when you get it out. Cut a hole in the middle for steam to escape, and if you still have the strength, make some pastry leaves, eggwashing them too. Put the pie on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, turning it and re-egg-washing halfway through. Then take it out of the oven and turn the heat up to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  4. Carefully run a palette knife around the sides of the tin, taking care not to pierce the pastry, and very gently pop the clasp to release the tin, checking it’s not catching anywhere. Lift the ring off. If liquid seeps over your baking tray you’ll immediately know you’ve sprung a leak. DON’T PANIC – it’s Pie Hospital time.
  5. Just calmly use the bit of pastry saved exactly for this purpose to plug the hole(s), making sure you blend raw into cooked. Be a little over-generous with the plugging – you need this baby to be watertight for the jelly stage. I promise your pie will still be magnificent; the fix may look drastic but I guarantee nobody will know. (Yup, I’ve been to Pie Hospital a few times, and once spent a whole weekend there trying to perfect this recipe.)
  1. Egg-wash the sides and put it back in the oven for 15–20 minutes until the pastry is a dark golden all over (if the top had a good colour before this, then drape a piece of foil over it – this last bit is just to make sure the sides are properly cooked). Leave to cool completely: it’s a bit massive for the fridge and few of us have a larder or pantry, so I generally put it in the bathroom in the winter, with the window open and door closed.
  2. Once your pie is properly cold, warm the chicken stock with the port, and soak the gelatine leaves in cold water (four if using home-made stock; five if using bought stock). When the stock is steaming, turn it off, lift out the floppy gelatine leaves one at a time and whisk into the stock.
  3. Season, tip into a jug with a good pouring spout and leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the stock is cool, get ready to start pouring it into the pie.
  5. If you have a thin funnel, stick it into the steam hole, or make one from greaseproof paper rolled into a cone. Pour the stock into the pie in gentle bursts over 10–15 minutes, with a couple minutes’ break between each load. Keep going until the pie won’t accept any more, or you run out of stock, or you see it seeping outthe sides, in which case check yourself in to Pie Hospital again: use any leftover raw pastry to dam the holes – it doesn’t matter how it looks stuck to the cooked pie – when the jelly has set (i.e. a few hours or overnight) simply cut off these pastry plasters with a small, sharp knife, and no scars will show.
  6. Put the pie back in its cold place and leave overnight for the jelly to set. At this point it can keep for days. When it’s pie-eating time, preheat the oven to top whack and once it’s up to speed flash your pride and joy in it for just a couple of minutes: enough to give the pastry a glorious gloss, but not enough for it even to think about melting the jelly inside.
  7. Take a moment to gaze adoringly at your masterpiece, because undoubtedly as a cook, you’ll feel you’ve truly raised your game.

NB: once the glory moment is done, keep any leftovers in the fridge –they’re most definitely good for a week or so.

 

This recipe comes from ©Allegra McEvedy 2013 in her book Big Table Busy Kitchen.

Another great recipe from Allegra