This raised Game Pie Recipe makes a deep filled pie, full of rich game meats, such as pheasant, venison and rabbit. It is equally good eaten hot or cold, and the pie is wonderful for wintery picnics or on the Christmas side-table. Game Pies are traditionally made with a raised hot-water crust (similar to a traditional pork pie pastry) while more modern recipes can call for a shortcrust pastry, or even a puff pastry topped pie. A hot-water crust pastry, (recommended here) although plainer, tends to go very well with the intense game flavours of the pie – and also the pastry does not wilt or go soggy, so it is perfect for making a cold ‘cutting pie’ for special occasions.
In terms of the filling it does not matter which game meats you use, or what cuts, just use a combination of meats which are seasonally available or to hand. Game Pies are just that, mixed game meats, and so you can use your favourites or experiment. If you intend to serve the pie cold, in slices, (as a cutting pie) we recommend making the home-made traditional pork stock, reduced, to make the pie jelly, it enhances and compliments the pie very well.
If making the pie with game birds or wild boar then the sloe gin works wonders, if you are making it with venison then a red wine works well, and it is a good substitute if you are unable to get or make sloe gin.
You need a 22 to 24cm spring-form tin (greased with butter)
- 400g lean pork shoulder (diced into small 1/2 cm cubes)
- 200g belly of pork (minced)
- 100g smoked streaky bacon rashers, finely diced
- 1.2 Kg mixed game meats (pheasant, venison, rabbit, wild boar etc.) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 4 tbsp sloe gin (gin steeped in sloe berries) – or 4tbsp of red wine.
- 12 sage leaves, finely sliced
- leaves from one thyme sprig
- seasoning – pinch of sea-salt and black pepper
Pastry (Hot-Water Crust)
- 280g lard
- 300ml water (boiling)
- 1 tsp sea-salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 750g of plain flour
- 1 egg, for the pastry
- 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
Pork Stock For The Jelly (optional) see link
Make the hot-water crust pastry: pour 300ml of water into saucepan, bring it up to the boil, then add the lard, salt and pepper and bring down to a simmer over a medium heat. When the lard has completely melted, turn off the heat and then add the flour and beat it in thoroughly with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Add a little flour if the dough is still too sticky. Allow to cool a little.
Turn the warm dough out onto a clean, floured surface, make a small well in the centre and break the egg in. Knead the egg into the dough by pulling in the sides of the pastry over the eggy surface, pushing down, turning and repeating. Add a few casts of flour if needed. Once kneaded into a stiff dough, remove a quarter of the dough, pat it into a disc and set aside to cool (this is for the pie crust) then cover it in cling film and refrigerate.
Form the remaining 3/4 of dough into a large, thick disc wider than the tin. Place it into the bottom of a greased 22 to 24cm spring form tin, and then slowly and carefully work the pastry out and up the sides of the tin with your finger tips, (raising the pie) making sure there are no holes or gaps. Once the pastry has completely covered the spring-form tin (to form the pastry base) and there is a little overhang, cover this in cling film and then chill it in the fridge for an hour (60 minutes) so it can set.
Make the filling: Place the pork shoulder cubes, pork belly mince, fine diced bacon rashers, mace, sloe-gin (red-wine), thyme and sage into a large bowl, season with a good pinch each of sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper, and mix together until all is well combined. This is the ‘packing meat’ which goes into the pie base and up the sides of the pie (making a well or ‘nest’).
Place the ‘packing meat’ into the pastry shell base, flatten it out, and ease it up the edges of the pie – leaving a large well in the centre for the game meats.
Place the mixed game meats (partridge / pheasant / guinea fowl / venison / rabbit / wild boar etc.) which you have cut up into similar sized bite-sized pieces, into the well of the packing meat in the pie shell – lay them mixed up, overlapping and filling the centre of pie fully. It does not matter if the pie is ‘dome’ shape and full, raised pies are often deep filled.
Roll out the remaining reserved pastry (the pastry lid) into a 25cm disc, and drape it over the top of the filling. Dampen the pastry edges of the pastry base with the beaten egg and pinch them together to seal the base and lid all around with a crimp. Trim the pastry. Use any excess pastry to make pastry leaf shapes to decorate the top of the pie, egg wash them.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C
Make a steam hole in the centre of the pie, brush the top with the beaten egg, and place the game pie onto a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180˚C and cook for a further 45 to 55 minutes. If the game pie begins to colour too much, cover it with a sheet of foil. You must make sure all the meat has cooked before removing the pie – the best way to check is to use a cook’s meat thermometer (probe) the meat should be above 150F or 70C push the probe into the meat in the centre of the pie.
If serving hot: Remove the pie from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing the spring form ring. Brush the sides of the pie with a little more beaten egg and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. It should be crisp and a lovely golden brown all over.
If serving cold: To make the traditional jelly (or aspic) to go in the Game Pie see this Pork Stock & Jelly Recipe. Remove the game pie from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes – leave it in the spring form tin. Fill the pie with a ‘jelly’ to seal, use a funnel to help pour in the warm stock through the steam vent in the pie crust – it will solidify as it cools. Depending on how many, and how big, the gaps are under the pie lid you will need more or less of the warm pork stock to set into a clear jelly. Once poured in put the pie in the fridge, let it settle for 20 minutes, then pour in a little more stock for a second time if it needs it. Cover the pie and leave it in the fridge for several hours (overnight is recommended) for the jelly to set and the pie to firm up. Then remove it from the spring form tin, slice and serve.