This Pheasant Pie is at its best in Autumn, with seasonal pheasants. It has a smoky, full-bodied flavour, enhanced by the bacon lardons and the red wine gravy. The pie is lightened by the use of puff pastry, which is only used for the crust, making this pie quite quick to make and assemble. When the Autumn nights are drawing in this pie will be a comfort, serve with seasonal steamed vegetables and a creamy mash potato like champ.
Pheasant Pie Recipe
Serves 4 in a 1.1 Litre pie dish
- 500g pheasant breasts (skinless)
- 200g un-smoked bacon lardons (diced small)
- 200g chestnuts (cooked and vacuum-packed)
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion (chopped fine)
- 1 celery stick (cleaned and sliced fine)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed and minced)
- 130ml red wine
- 250ml chicken stock
- 3 tbsp double cream
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 1 sprig of thyme (pull of just the leaves)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of flaked sea salt
- 400g ready made puff pastry
- a little plain flour (for dusting)
- 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp milk (beaten to glaze)
Dice the pheasant into bite sized pieces, roll them in the flour and a little salt and pepper to coat.
In a large, non-stick frying pan, fry the bacon lardons for 5 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden. Add the oil, chopped onion, minced garlic, and sliced celery and fry for 7 minutes on a low heat, until they soften and the onion becomes lightly browned. Stir often. Add the pheasant pieces and the bay leaf to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, turning the pheasant in the pan to brown and seal (the pieces do not need to be cooked through, they will be cooked in the oven). Season well with sea-salt and pepper.
Once the pheasant is sealed and browned add the chopped chestnuts, (crumble them in) add the red wine to the pan. Turn up the heat and simmer on a rapid boil for two minutes. Turn the heat down for a further two minutes and gradually stir in the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to lift the sediment. Leave the pan on a simmer for ten minutes to reduce and thicken the gravy.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream and the chopped parsley and thyme leaves. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Spoon the pie filling mixture into the 1.1 litre pie dish, and leave to further cool for 30 minutes. The filling should be cool before adding on the pie crust.
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Roll out the puff pastry, on a well-floured surface, into a rectangle, a good third larger than the pie dish, about 7mm thick. Down one side cut out some long pastry strips, about 2cm wider than the rim of the dish. Brush the rim of the pie dish with beaten egg and fix the strips length-ways in place, half-in half out, all along the rim of the pie dish, overlapping a little where necessary. Then brush these strips with a little more egg yolk. The strips help seal the pie lid to the dish, without the need to have the dish fully lined in a pastry base.
Lift the remaining pastry lid over a rolling pin and place it over the pie filling. Press the edges firmly to seal with the pastry strips on the rim. Trim any excess pastry with a sharp knife and use the back of the fork to go all along the edges crimping to fully seal the Pheasant Pie. Make a steam hole in the pasty lid and brush all over with beaten egg yolk to glaze.
Put the pie on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes in an oven at 220C – or until the pastry is well risen and golden brown, and the filling is piping hot. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes then serve. Serve with seasonal steamed vegetables and a creamy mash potato like champ.