British game is in season from August through to early in the new year depending on which game you want t use. You can also buy your game from a good butcher as well as online, often year round but this will have been frozen if out of season, though eating game is somehow not quite right in the warmer months.
This recipe, use whichever game you most enjoy, a mixture of different meat is recommended, though, to create a more interesting pie.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kg./2.2 lbs. mixed game (inc. venison, rabbit, pheasant and pigeon)
- 1 handful cranberries (dried)
- 2 large onions (red, peeled and diced)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed)
- 120g./4 1/2 oz. bacon (smoked back, diced)
- 120g./4 1/2 oz. mushrooms (field, sliced)
- 25g./1 oz. flour (plain)
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons zest (orange)
- 4 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon jelly (redcurrant)
- 300 ml. /1 1/4 cups stock (chicken)
- 70ml./1/3 cup Port wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.2kg./2 2/3 lbs.pastry (shortcrust)
- 1 egg (free-range, beaten)
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan, brown the game meat in batches, keep to one side.
Heat the rest of the oil, cook the onions until starting to soften but not color. Add the garlic, bacon & mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the flour & cook for 2 minutes. Season well & stir in the bay leaves, orange juice & zest, redcurrant jelly, stock & port.
Bring to the boil, add the meat & simmer gently for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Allow to cool.
Heat the oven to Gas 5.
Flour the inside of metal skillet – do not grease. Roll out enough pastry to fit the inside of the skillet plus 1/2"/1cm. Gently press the pastry base into the skillet leaving an overhang of 1/2"/1cm. Fill the pastry case with the meat mixture and cranberries if using. Roll out the remaining pastry for a lid. Brush the top edge of the pastry base with beaten egg & lay the pastry lid on top. Press down edges with the end of a spoon. Cut a steam hole in the centre. Brush the pastry with beaten egg to glaze.
Bake for 30 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven followed by 30 minutes on the top shelf, until the pastry, is golden brown & the filling is piping hot.
Serve generous size portions with creamy mash, steamed savoy cabbage & red onion
The first week of March each year is British Pie Week; a week to celebrate one of Britain's favourite foods and one we have been enjoying for centuries. Each year a competition sponsored by Jus-Rol, a popular brand of pastry in the UK, searches the nation looking for a pie, worthy of winning the British Pie Challenge.
This recipe comes courtesy of Ashley Robbins at the Keystone in Guildford with the addition of a few cranberries for colour.