Game and Chestnut Pie by Blanche Vaughan

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Game and Chestnut Pie

Blanche Vaughan – Food writer and Chef

This one-pot pie is an excellent way to cook seasonal game birds (I like to cook pheasants and partridges in this way) but you could also substitute the meat with guinea fowl. The razor sharp D67 Boning knife is my choice for jointing the birds and I find the Santoku is my favourite for chopping vegetables and herbs neatly.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pheasant or 4 partridges or a mixture of the two, jointed into 6 pieces on the bone
  • 150g smoked streaky bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • A few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme, chopped
  • 200g cooked, peeled chestnuts
  • 200ml red wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 100g puff pastry
  • plain flour for dusting
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4
  2. Place a large, low-sided casserole over a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pheasant pieces and brown well on all sides. When they are well coloured, remove to a plate.
  3. Fry the bacon pieces in the pan, increasing the heat as necessary so they become crisp and browned. Then lower the heat and add the onions, garlic and celery, cooking gently for 10-15 minutes so they become soft and sweet.
  4. Add the chopped herbs, chestnuts and wine, bring to the boil to burn off some of the alcohol flavour of the wine, then add the stock, bay leaves and juniper berries. Tuck the pheasant pieces back into the pan and cover with a piece of parchment paper and a lid.
  5. Cook in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the meat is completely cooked and starting to fall off the bone. Remove the meat from the casserole and allow to cool slightly before shredding, discard the bones and return to the casserole.
  6. Roll out the pastry to a slightly larger size than the casserole lid and about 5mm thick. Lay the pastry on the surface of the pie mixture, tucking it around the edges to make a neat lid. Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp.
  7. Serve immediately with a bowl of buttered cabbage and mash potato.

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