Game pie with cranberries & chestnuts
- Preparation and cooking time
- plus at least 6 hrs chilling
- A challenge
- Serves 12
For the filling
- 200g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 800g mixed boneless game , such as rabbit, venison, wild boar, pheasant, partridge or pigeon, finely chopped
- 300g pork belly , minced (ask your butcher to do this, or pulse in a food processor)
- 200g smoked lardons
- 150g cooked chestnuts , roughly chopped
- ½ tsp ground mace
- 2 large pinches of ground nutmeg
- small bunch sage , finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
For the hot water crust pastry
- 200g lard , cubed, plus a little for greasing
- 575g plain flour
- 1 egg , beaten
- 4 gelatine leaves
- 300ml chicken stock
- STEP 1
First, make a cranberry sauce for the centre of the pie. Tip 150g of the cranberries and the sugar into a saucepan, add 1 tbsp water and bring to a simmer. Bubble for 4-5 mins until the cranberries have softened and you have a glossy sauce. Cool completely. Mix the remaining filling ingredients (including the remaining cranberries) in a large bowl and season well.
- STEP 2
When you’re ready to make the pastry, boil the kettle and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a little lard. Tip the flour into a bowl and season with 1 tsp salt. Measure 220ml hot water into a jug and add the lard. Stir until melted, then pour into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. It’s best to roll hot water crust pastry while it’s warm, so – working quickly – remove a quarter of the pastry, wrap and set aside. Roll the remaining pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use the warm pastry to line your cake tin, leaving any excess pastry overhanging, and pushing it right into the corners. If it tears, patch it up with the excess – this pastry is very forgiving, so you don’t have to be too gentle with it. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- STEP 3
Pack half the filling into the bottom of the lined tin, making sure there are no air pockets. Spread the cranberry sauce over the meat, then pack the remaining filling on top, creating a slightly domed shape in the middle. Use a pair of scissors to trim the excess pastry to about 2cm all the way around, then brush the inside rim with some of the beaten egg. Unwrap the remaining pastry and roll out to the same thickness as before. Cut into wide strips and use to create a lattice on top of the pie, tightly weaving the pastry strips under and over each other. Pinch the pastry together around the edges, then roll the excess in towards the centre to create a neat edge. Brush the top of the pie with more egg.
- STEP 4
Cook in the oven for 45 mins, then reduce the heat to 160C/ 140C fan/gas 3 and cook for a further 1 hr 30 mins. Leave to cool at room temperature, then chill overnight, or for at least 4 hrs.
- STEP 5
Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 mins, then remove and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the stock until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Leave to cool to room temperature.
- STEP 6
Pour the stock into the pie through the holes in the lattice, using a funnel. Pour in a little at a time, allowing a few seconds before each addition (you may not need all the stock). Put in the fridge for another 2 hrs to set the jelly, then serve in wedges. Eat within 3 days.