Ideal for Boxing Day lunch, this is a delicious and impressive pie, which can be made with any selection of game. Make the pie a day or two before it is required, although the process takes time it is well worth the effort as it makes a great centre-piece.
Makes 1 AGA game pie.
For the filling
- Melted butter to grease the pie mould
- 500g (1lb 2oz) fatty pork
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into pieces
- 600g (1lb 5oz) mixed game (I used rabbit, pheasant and venison)
- 2 pheasant breasts, (from above) cut in half lengthways
- 100g fresh cranberries
- Salt and black pepper
- 4-5 medium mushrooms, stalks cut to level of the underside of the mushroom
For the stock
- Carcass and bones from the rabbit and pheasant
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- Water (about 1.2 ltires)
- Fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Ground black pepper
- 1 sachet powdered gelatine
For the hot water crust pastry
- 450g (1lb) plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 115g (4oz) lard
- 225ml (8fl oz) water
For the glaze
- Beaten egg
Firstly make the stock; remove the meat from the carcass of the rabbit and pheasant, save the pheasant breasts, and place in the refridgerator. To make the stock, put the carcass and bones into a 4 litre AGA saucepan, ass the onion and fresh thyme, bay leaves and pepper. Just cover with water, bring to the boil for 4 minutes.
2,3,4 and 5 oven AGA: Transfer to the Simmering Oven and cook for 2-3 hours.
Drain the stock through a fine sieve. Return the stock to a clean saucepan and reduce - by boiling quickly - to 600ml (1 pint). Sprinkle the gelatine and whisk into the stock, with salt to taste. Allow to cool the refridgerate. (Any cooked meat adhering to the bones can be removed - there will be enough for a game sandwich!)
Grease the pie mould sides and base with the melted butter.
Next prepare the meat for the pie; mince or process the pork and onion, place in a basin. Coarsely chop the pieces of game - this gives texture - and mix together with the pork, cranberries and season well. Put to one side while you make the hot water crust pastry.
Sieve the flour and salt into a large basin. Place the lard and water into a saucepan, slowly heat to melt the lard then bring to the boil. Stir the boiling liquid into the flour and mix well with a spoon. This should be done quickly so the pastry is formed and moulded before it has time to cool. Cut off one-third and keep warm.
Use the other two-thirds of the pastry to line the pie mould, pressing the pastry right up the sides to come above the top. Press half the pork and game mixture into the pastry case. Cut the ends of each mushroom and place them end to end along the middle of the pie (this is for aesthetic reasons! It means that whent he pie is cut there will always be a mushroom slice apparent rather than the end). Place the pheasant breasts to each side then top with the remainder of the pork and game mixture.
Roll out the remaining third of pastry just a bit larger than the top of the pie mould. Brush the underside of the lid with some beaten egg and fix onto the top of the pie. Crimp the pastry edges to form a seal. Make a hole in the centre of the pastry lid.
2 Oven AGA: Place the game pie mould on the oven grid shelf set on the floor of the Roasting Oven, with the cold plain shelf on the second runners down and cookfor about 1 hour. Protect the top of the pie with a piece of Bake-O-Glide or foil if it is over-browning. Transfer to the Simmering Oven for 2 hours. Carefully remove the tin from the pastry and brush with beaten egg and return to the Roasting Oven for 5-10 minutes to brown the sides and top. Cool.
3,4 and 5 oven AGA: Place the game pie mould on the oven grid shelf set on the floor of the Roasting Oven, with the cold plain shelf on the second runners down and cook for 45 minutes. Protect the top of the pie with a piece of Bake-O-Glide of foil if it is over-browning. Transfer to the Baking Oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. Carefully remove the tin from the pastry and brush with beaten egg and return to the Roasting Oven for 5-10 minutes to brown the sides and top. Cool.
To finish the pie, remove the stock from the refridgerator and gently melt, check the seasoning, then alllow it to cool until syrupy. Carefully pour the liquid stock through the hole in the pastry lid, use a funnel or a piece of Bake-O-Glice rolled into a funnel shape to make this easier. Tilt the pie from side to side to encourage the stock to reach all parts of the inner pie.
Refridgerate until set.
Conventional cooking: Make the stock on the hob. Cook the pie at 200oC, fan oven 180oC, Gas mark 6 for 45 minutes then turn the oven down to 180oC, fan oven 160oC, Gas mark 4 for the remaning 1 hour 15 minutes. Protect the top of the pie with a piece of Bake-O-Glide or foil if it is over-browning.
AGA Food Editor